Machel Montano

We did it: Soca star Machel Montano poses with his new wife, Renee Butcher, and the couple’s parents following yesterday’s ceremony at the Red House.

“Ecstatic!”

That was soca king Machel Montano’s brief response to ­reporters yesterday, when asked how he felt as a newly married man.

Montano, 45, and his new wife, Renee Butcher, a yoga instructor, have gone down in history as the first couple to be married at the Red House since its restoration and ­reopening last month.

Montano wed his long-time partner in a small, intimate ceremony at the $441 ­million restored and refurbished Red House on the most romantic day of the year—Valentine’s Day.

While neither members of the media nor the public were allowed on the compound, the wedding took place in a hallway that could be viewed from the street.

Montano arrived around 11.20 a.m. while his bride arrived some ten minutes later, accompanied by ­Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi.

Pastor Clive Dottin officiated at the ceremony.

The couple and their guests were all dressed in white.

Emerging from the building following the ceremony, Montano was all smiles, as he shouted, “­Monday!” referring to his anticipated “Machel Monday” concert.

The celebration is expected to continue at the event, dubbed “Machel Monday—The Wedding”.

The wedding ceremony lasted just about 25 minutes. However, fans and curious members of the public lined the pavement from as early as 10 a.m. to catch a glimpse of Montano and Butcher.

Parliament staff looked on from a balcony, while drivers in passing vehicles honked their horns .

One woman told the Express she ran away from work when she heard the soca star was to be wed at the Red House. “I had to come and see—is Machel, yuh know!” she said.

Others seemed unfazed by a sudden downpour of rain as they waited. The small crowd erupted in cheers and applause when the couple emerged and shared a kiss on the steps of the Red House.

The ‘wedding terrace’

AG Al-Rawi, also clad in all white, beamed as he spoke to ­reporters, saying he was invited to speak at the wedding, as he is a close friend of Montano’s.

“I have known Machel for many, many years, we went to school ­together and we’ve come a long way, so I was invited to say a few words this morning,” he said.

He said Montano selected the Red House as his wedding venue because his own parents were married there, adding Montano contacted him, asking if weddings would still be conducted there.

“And so the idea was born,” Al-Rawi said.

The Government announced last month that couples would once more be able to register and be legally married at the Red House, with a maximum of eight guests, but full-fledged wedding ­ceremonies or receptions would not be allowed.

There were more than eight guests at yesterday’s wedding, ­including a full camera crew.

Al-Rawi, however, said the ­decision was taken to have the wedding on the terrace, instead of in a smaller room that was initially set aside for this purpose.

“If we were doing it in the ­smaller room, we would have had six or seven guests,” said Al-Rawi. “But we went out onto the ­terrace, which allowed us to have a little more.”

This may also be extended to other couples who choose to marry at the Red House, as Al-Rawi said the Speaker of the House will ­develop rules over time to facilitate different things.

He added the Parliament is in talks to have the area where ­Montano wed his partner named the “wedding terrace”.

“This is the people’s house,” he said.

This was the prime minister’s ­vision in creating the Red House for the people of Trinidad and Tobago.

‘Machel is meh boy’

Al-Rawi said he was happy to have been a part of the event.

“It couldn’t have been a greater day than to have Machel Montano as the first citizen of Trinidad and Tobago come in and have this...Machel is meh boy, he is a true ­national spirited man. I’m so proud of him,” the AG said.

“Machel Monday—The Wedding” will take place on Monday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port of Spain, and is to be the last “Machel Monday” Carnival fete.

Montano announced last month he will be ending the show, which has become a staple on the Carnival calendar, after this tenth ­instalment.

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