For Weddings, not a Funeral
Turning down gigs is an odd thing to do, but now and then I’ve been known to. It happened to me just the other day. It was a wedding I had been asked to cover. It was short notice but not bad money and so I was tempted as I had no other gigs that day. But I turned it down. Why? Why would I do that? Simply put to me it would have been just another gig, but to the couple getting married it was probably one of the most important days of their life. I didn't think that that would be fair. For me there is a big difference between performing at a wedding and performing at a birthday party, an anniversary, or really any other gig that I do. Weddings are special and I am always flattered and in many ways honoured to work them.
Unlike some of my friends I don’t specialise in doing weddings, but when I do I take them very seriously. It’s important to get the balance just right. For example, whilst I want to be remembered, I certainly don’t want to be the main talking point. Alternativly I don't want my performance to be an 'off the peg' attempt. I want to reflect the personality, character, and charm of the couple. That takes work and preperation.
Whenever I am asked to do a wedding and am able to, I agree in principle and on the understanding that I will be meeting with the couple well in advance. For me it’s vital that they get the right magician. When I talk to them in person I explain something very important:
They ARE NOT hiring me to do magic.
I’ll tell the couple that they are hiring me to entertain. Yes, I’ll use magic, but there are so many other factors. It’s about personality and style. Feel and vibe. Believe me, who is performing is even more important than what they are performing.
Before a wedding you will fret over different cakes, venues, vows, flowers, dresses, colour combinations, songs, dishes, and wines. You’ll wonder about your first dance, last course, and the middle ground between cousins who don’t get on. Yet so often a magician is chosen based on no more than a few tricks you’ve seen them perform. We are so much more, and we can bring so much more. Here is a quick confession; a lot of us do a lot of the same illusions. But as it’s true that it’s not the song, it’s the singer remember this; it’s not the trick, it’s the magician. From making your guests feel comfortable and relaxed to defusing awkward situations, a good magician should take the stress of wondering if everyone is happy off of your plate. So why would you want someone who isn’t right for your wedding, who isn’t right for you?
Talk to your magician. Personally I’ll always try to find out a few little facts about a couple beforehand so I can better tailor what I’m doing. Is the wedding themed? Let us know! A wedding can go from a full cos-play with everyone dressed as characters from Star Wars to something as simple as each table being named after favourite footballers and the flowers being in your team colours. A good magician will find out about these things and try and incorporate them into what they’re doing for you. This can go from maybe doing some tricks we don’t usually perform, to maybe even creating whole new illusions just for you!
So look around and talk to different magicians. See if they suit you and can do what you want. And importantly, don’t be offended if we say no to you. Sometimes it’s clear that I can’t do what a couple need from me. I would much rather be honest and say ‘no’ then be blinded by the money and risk ruining someone’s wedding simply because I wasn’t exactly what they wanted.
But oh, make sure you talk to me first!