By: Claude Mills
Photos By: Carlington Wilmot
Under a gunmetal grey sky and a thick canopy of clouds, Moses 'Beenie Man' Davis and Michelle 'D'Angel' Downer got married in a lavish ceremony at Crichton Estate, St. Andrew (adjacent to Chris Blackwell's Strawberry Hill) on August 22nd. The event was attended by at least 150 guests, all clad in full-white, and featured many moments of high comedy, sweet drama and at least one unexpected surprise for all those in attendance.
The marriage ceremony got off to a late start as D'Angel, looking ravishing in a satin dress with a sweetheart neckline encrusted with swaroski crystals, was escorted down the aisle by her uncle, Loxley Downer. Beenie Man had arrived over an hour earlier, and kept guests entertained by dancing down the aisle, and giving jokes, and at one time shouted 'where is my wife?'.
The ceremony finally got underway at about 6:15 p.m., and Reverend Al Miller, who officiated the ceremony, wasted no time in injecting a level of sobriety into the proceedings by stressing the sanctity of the covenant of marriage. Nevertheless, Beenie Man ad-libbed sections of his repeated vows, provoking delighted titters from the audience. For her part, D'Angel was quite emotional, and her cheeks were often wet with tears as she recited her vows, and there was a palpable sense of love in the air, so much so that Beenie Man had to choke back the tears standing in his own eyes as he stood beside the woman who in October, will bear his son, Marco Dean.
After they kissed, bells rung out loudly throughout the rural countryside, and the strains of the Etta James classic 'At Last' poured out of the speakers. The newly married couple then moved like slow molasses towards the reception area with a small army of reporters and photographers in tow, shutter-bugging their every move.
Later, with the lights of the city shining below the rowdy reception like thousands of diamonds on a coat of black sable, Beenie Man grabbed the microphone, and backed by the Gumption band, serenaded his wife with the song, 'Woman I Need You' which captivated the attention of the crowd. One of the crowd's favourite lines was: 'I call/It was like the Great China Wall/But I never fall/I never stall...today is the best day/my wedding and my birthday...'.
One of the surprises of the night was the appearance of deejay Vybz Kartel who is a prominent member of 'The Alliance', whose head is Bounty Killer, the sworn arch-enemy of deejay Beenie Man. During the unscripted 'stage show' segment, Kartel joined Beenie Man onstage and shook his hand, saying 'welcome to the club, you already know that I am Mr. Palmer', a reference to Kartel's own nuptials last year.
"Yu a legend, we affi de ya fi be a part of it," he said, before singing a few bars from 'Even If I Neva See You Again'.
Notables in attendance included Minister Kern Spencer, Zachary Harding and his wife, Tamara, Mr. G, Zumjay, Kip Rich, Big A, Captain Barkey, a pregnant Paula Ann Porter. The Lititz Mento Band of St. Elizabeth also performed mento songs. Some members of the media seemed a bit miffed by the non-appearances of celebrities like Hulk Hogan, Janet Jackson and Jermaine Dupri. Wedding crashers, some dressed in the required all-white ensembles, gathered outside the gates hoping for a chance to get in once the word got out of the wedding's location. But sadly, nobody never bothered to 'fly the gate' as it goes in the local parlance. Earlier that evening, the guests had been ferried to the location via coaster buses that were parked on a playing field adjacent to the Jamaica College school on Hope Road.
THE YARDFLEX TEAM WAS BUSY ALL DAY - OH YES, IT'S SLEEPING TIME, SO CHECK BACK LATER FOR MORE WEDDING PHOTOS