Written by: David Bowie
Recorded: June-September 1992
Producers: David Bowie, Nile Rodgers
Released: 5 April 1993
Black Tie White Noise
David Bowie: saxophone
Nile Rodgers: guitar
Barry Campbell/John Regan: bass guitar
Richard Hilton, Dave Richards, Philippe Saisse, Richard Tee: keyboards
Poogie Bell/Sterling Campbell: drums
Michael Riesman: tubular bells, harp
‘The Wedding’ is the opening track on David Bowie’s 18th studio album Black Tie White Noise.
David Bowie married Iman Abdulmajid in Lausanne, Switzerland, in a private ceremony on 24 April 1992. Two months later they held a more lavish wedding celebration in Florence, Italy. The celebration was attended by celebrities including Bono, Brian Eno, and Yoko Ono, and the day was commemorated over 23 pages in Hello! magazine.
Having to share one’s life with somebody else, you tend to talk a lot more. You’d better! I mean I was quite content spending days without saying a word to anybody, quite alone, getting on with my own obsessive thing, whatever that happened to be at the time. I didn’t really need company particularly.
Then when I met Iman and we started living together, I kind of realised how much I’d missed. I guess I quite enjoyed being more of a social animal, going to dinners with people, having conversations there. I’d never really done that much. I hadn’t lived that kind of life, y’know? Elton John I never was. I didn’t go out to… soirées, and all that. So I’ve enjoyed opening up. Privately at first, then I guess it translated into more public terms.
Uncut, October 1999
For the event, Bowie and Iman had their hair styled by Teddy Antolin, who had introduced the couple to one another at his LA birthday party in 1990.
It was stunning. David was very happy, he never looked better, he was so sharp. He did make a speech and after dinner we went to dance.
David had put together a really great tape, disco and dance music and a few of his own but not too much. It was a fun party.
The Sunday People
The music for the celebration included several pieces written by Bowie. Some – including ‘The Wedding’, ‘The Wedding Song’, and ‘Pallas Athena’ – ended up on his 1993 album Black Tie White Noise.
Writing [the music] brought my mind around to, obviously, what commitment means, and why I was getting married at this age and what my intentions were and were they honorable? [Laughs] And what I really wanted from my life from now on.
Boston Globe, 1993
The wedding celebration provided the spark that inspired much of Bowie’s resulting album, Black Tie White Noise. His priority – to celebrate his love and marriage – was made plain from the opening track, the instrumental ‘The Wedding’.
I had to write music that represented for me the growth and character of our relationship. It really was a watershed. It opened up a wealth of thoughts and feelings about commitment and promises and finding the strength and fortitude to keep those promises. It all came tumbling out of me while I was writing this music for church. And I thought: ‘I can’t stop here. There’s more that I have to get out.’ For me it was a tentative first step toward writing from a personal basis. It triggered the album.
Rolling Stone, 10 June 1993
Bowie – having cleansed his musical palate with Tin Machine and the Sound + Vision Tour – was once again engaged with songwriting and recording as a solo artist, and Black Tie White Noise contained some of his most personal works, albeit carefully stage-managed. From the pages of Hello! to the lyrics of the album, fans were given a window into his world, but it was strictly on Bowie’s terms.
So we got together again and he was marrying Iman – who was my friend too – to do Black Tie, White Noise. The working title was The Wedding Album. I was trying to turn it into a very, very, very commercial piece of work. He, on the other hand, was trying to make this artistic statement about this period in his life. That was a little bit uncomfortable, because we were butting heads, but I think we did a wonderful album.
Rolling Stone, 12 January 2016
‘The Wedding’ is an unorthodox piece of matrimonial music, far removed from the traditional ‘Here Comes The Bride’. Opening with the sound of tubular bells, it gives way to a funkified bass, guitar and keyboard groove and discordant, overlaid saxophones.
The album ends with ‘The Wedding Song’, a reprise of ‘The Wedding’ with vocals, and which ends with the tubular bells that opened the first song.
So much of this album comes from a more emotional plane than I’m wont to generally show about myself. It’s a very emotionally-charged album. There’s a lot of jumping into the unknown about it. Maybe a lot of my negative things have surfaced on this album, that’s why it’s got such a saccharine ending. It’s called ‘The Wedding Song’, but it should have been called ‘The Wedding Cake’, because it really is all icing with a couple on top.
NME, 27 March 1993
The vinyl edition of Black Tie White Noise omitted the tracks ‘The Wedding’ and ‘Looking For Lester’.
‘The Wedding’ was included on Bowie’s 1993 privately-pressed compilation All Saints. When the album went on general release in 2001 as All Saints: Collected Instrumentals 1977–1999, it omitted the track, along with ‘South Horizon’, ‘Pallas Athena’, and ‘Looking For Lester’.