Hiring a magician for your wedding can be a daunting task since this is, after all, one of the biggest days of your life and getting everything right can be a bit overwhelming. Also, with yourselves being the centre of attention, your minds will not always be on the general welfare of your guests, especially during the photos where you will likely be occupied for a couple of hours.
This is where a magician can step in to add that extra dimension to your guests wedding experience and give you peace of mind knowing that they are in good hands.
But how do you go about finding the right magician for your special day? The last thing you want is a scruffy amateur with no personality showing a few tricks your grandad once taught you!
I've compiled five things you should take into account when considering hiring a magician for your big day. Following each of these points you can be assured of getting the entertainer your guests deserve!
1) Different types of magician
You need to first decide the type of magician you want and when you wish him/her to perform. The following is a list of things to consider.
Decide if you want just the children entertained or adults or maybe a mix of both. Most wedding magicians work primarily on entertaining your adult guests but would still be happy to show the children a little something.
Decide if you want just visual magic tricks (cards/coins/ropes) or mindreading. Most magicians do a bit of both though a mindreader is a very specialist area which is becoming very popular. So think, do you want Derren Brown (mindreader) or David Blaine (magician)?
A form of close-up magic performed whilst people are standing in groups, whereby the magician mingles with the crowd performing to small groups at a time. This works well for the drinks reception and evening entertainment.
A form of close-up magic performed whilst people are sitting at tables during the wedding breakfast, whereby the magician entertains a table at a time, between courses.
A magician who performs on stage to an audience. This can work well during the evening reception as a bit of light relief for everyone.
It's likely you have a strict budget for your wedding so the price for hiring a magician is obviously a key factor. It would be foolish, however, to simply go with the cheapest magician you can find. There is no professional regulatory body for magicians so essentially anyone can learn a few tricks and call themselves a wedding magician. If you want quality, expect to pay in the region of £300 - £500 for two hours of close-up magic. A deposit in the range of 20% up front with the balance on the day is normal.
You cannot gauge a magician's quality of entertainment simply by the price he sets. Likewise DO NOT judge a magician by how flashy his/her website is. Anyone can pay a web designer enough money to create a fantastic looking site, but that doesn't mean the magician is a good entertainer. Also, do not be drawn in by lines such as "The UK's top magician…", as this is likely to have been written by the magician themselves. The following points should be seriously taken into consideration when looking over a website.
Testimonials are vitally important so have a thorough read of what past clients have said. Remember, no magician will ever put anything but good comments on his/her website so pay particular attention to the way in which a testimonial has been written, ie if all the comments say "He was great", or "Brilliant magic" then be wary. However, more detailed testimonials which really show that the wedding couple were totally blown away and had their day given that extra special touch is what you are looking for. Also, do not be shy to ask for a phone number of anyone on the testimonials page if you want to be 100% they are genuine. A magician should be able to provide this.
There is no substitute for actually seeing or hearing the magician in action entertaining. Promotional video or radio clips are a great way to do this. If a magician has none of these on his/her website you should doubt how long they have actually been performing as this should be one of the highest priorities for a magician when owning a website. Good quality pictures are also an invaluable tool for a magician to advertise their service. Make sure all photos clearly show the people having fun, also that the magician looks smartly dressed, you certainly don't want them turning up in David Blaine style dress wear of jeans and a t-shirt – believe me, it happens.
4) Live performance
There is no reason at all why you cannot request the magician to give a live demonstration. This is not always necessary but if you really feel you want to see the magic happen in front of your own eyes and make a judgment then ask! If the magician lives within thirty miles he should be perfectly willing to come to you. Further distances may require you meet halfway in a public house. You can also ask about any wedding fayres they are exhibiting at and pop along to those instead.
5) Email contact/Phone
Many people shy away from calling nowadays with the ease of email. Though emailing your initial request is fine to get a quote, ALWAYS call before booking. Everyone has first impressions when meeting of talking to someone for the first time. Does he sound likable and friendly? You will instinctively know if he is the right man for the job, all other things considered.
The above article was contributed by Andrew Edmonds, The Psychological Magician.