He became a household name when he was just 11 years old and lived the brunt of his life in the full glare of the public.
Yesterday, on Valentine’s Day, Machel Montano and his sweetheart bride Renee Butcher became the first couple to marry in the refurbished Red House, tying the knot in view of members of the public once again looking on.
It came just three days before he holds his final Machel Monday concert, billed ‘The Wedding’.
He was escorted into the Red House by Attorney General Faris Al Rawi, who held a white umbrella over Montano as he came out of his vehicle to a light drizzle.
Al Rawi told reporters that Montano, whom he described as his ‘boy’, asked about getting married in the Red House recently as his parents, Monty and Elizabeth Montano, were also married there.
Montano’s guest, all decked in white, arrived at the Red House shortly after 10 am, while Al Rawi arrived shortly before 11. The two attended Presentation College together.
Al Rawi was also wearing white and joked that it was the first time he had ever worn all white.
By the time Montano’s relatives got there, there were about ten people, in addition to the media, braving the rain outside the Red House seeking to get a glimpse of the couple.
Instead of taking place in the Rotunda, the wedding was done in a glass-window enclosed terrace to the front of the building, allowing all those who were standing outside to get a clear view of the ceremony.
The seven-person guest limit was also not enforced for the couple, who had more than ten guests present.
Montano and Butcher arrived around 11.20 am, him wearing a white suit and her in a white pants suit with a long white train.
They entered the building separately, with Al Rawi also escorting Butcher in.
The brief ceremony began around 11.30 am and the registration was done by Registrar General Karen Bridgewater.
Seated in front of his guests, Montano and his bride signed their wedding certificate before sharing a kiss to the cheers of those watching the ceremony from the sidewalk outside the building.
Pastor Clive Dottin was also present and addressed the newlyweds shortly after they signed their marriage certificate.
Afterwards, the couple posed for photos on the steps leading into the building with their relatives. Those passing by on the pavement joined the group outside, to take photos and videos with the newlyweds.
When members of the public called out to the couple, Montano waved and flashed a ‘thumbs-up’ sign. Asked how he felt, he shouted, “It feels ecstatic!”
He told fans that he would celebrate with them at his annual Machel Monday concert.
He had told Guardian Media’s The Morning Brew host, Hema Ramkissoon earlier in the day, that Machel Monday would be the greatest expression of himself, as he appeared on the show Friday morning.
Speaking to the media after the wedding, a smiling Al Rawi said this was the first wedding to be held at the Red House in 20 years.
“Machel said to me some time ago, my parents were married at the Red House, Faris. Do they still do Red House weddings? And bam, the idea was born,” he said.
He said he was invited by his longtime friend, Montano, to speak at the wedding.
He explained that the seven-guest limit was breached because of the location of the ceremony.
“If we were going into the smaller room, it would have been six or seven guests but we went onto this little terrace over here, which allowed us to have a few more. So technically we were just on the outside. The Speaker will develop rules over time to permit things. There is a beautiful idea to name that terrace that you saw there, the ‘Wedding Terrace’ but that will be up to the Speaker and the Parliament.”
Montano has been sharing a relationship with Butcher publicly since 2016.
One of the theme songs for Machel Monday, is “I Love You”, in which Machel says,
“Look how long me and meh girl dating
And I ent pop the question as yet
Ah busy chasing birds in the fete
This year I not gonna do the same thing
Ah thinking about making the big step
Doh wanna look back on meh life and regret…”