How to choose your wedding magician from the internet |
Congratulations! If you're reading this article, you're getting married! Further congratulations are in order for considering hiring a magician to entertain your guests. As a wedding magician, I am of course biased on the on the importance of hiring a magician to break the ice at a wedding. However, for my brother's wedding I knew I had to get him something really special - I hired a magician, so this is not just me trying to advertise my services.
Now on to the bad news - If you get a bad magician then they can actually be detrimental to your special day. They can turn up late (or not at all), talk to your guests like children, swear, be rude/arrogant or, more likely, just be rubbish at performing.
So here are some steps to help you get the right man for the job.
After searching the net and finding a few magicians that you like the look of, contact them and request a meeting. Inform them that you will also be meeting a few other magicians. This is the most efficient method of ensuring that you get a good magician for your wedding. Every magician will proclaim his brilliance on his website, on the phone or through email. However, when he knows that he will be judged against other magicians, only competent/good magicians will agree to a meeting. You'll also be able to tell a lot about the magician: if he arrives on time, has polished shoes and gets on well with your friends and family, then chances are your guests will feel exactly the same as you did at that first meeting.
If the option of meeting them isn't available, then a phone call is the second best option. Virtually every magician claims to be funny and wildly entertaining on their website, but in reality this isn't always the case. As Paul Daniels says, "Don't tell me you're funny, make me laugh". Again, if they can make you laugh over the phone and give off a likeable vibe then they're probably a good option.
When you have your meeting / phone call, these are good questions to ask to ensure that the magician is a competent performer:-
1) Are you a full time professional magician?
If he has another job, ask if he ever works weekends. If he has to choose between his main source of income and his bonus income that he gets from magic shows, you may unfortunately find that you do not have a magician at your wedding.
2) Have you performed at many weddings?
It's very easy to put together a website and offer wedding services. However, you do not want your magician to be learning his trade on your special day. It is critical that you hire an experienced performer who knows what he's doing.
3) How do you get most of your work?
Although websites and agents will bring in a large percentage of a magician's income, the top magicians live off of word of mouth and repeat bookings.
4) Do you perform both strolling magic and table magic?
There are magicians who have performed for years under the same conditions, e.g. always with/without a table, with/without background music and so on. If so, the magician will only perform in an environment where he feels comfortable, so make sure that he has previously worked in an environment similar to what you intend to book him for.
5) Do you work with children?
Some magicians are children's entertainers who believe because the parents enjoy their show, they can perform in the same manner with an adult crowd. Likewise, some magicians who perform solely for adults will not perform for children. As 85% of wedding guests are generally adults, I strongly suggest you hire a magician who has a residency in a restaurant. This allows the magician to work with children without being exclusively a children's entertainer.
6) Will you perform for the bride and groom?
Magicians are generally hired on an hourly basis and if you hire a magician only for your wedding photographs, he may be gone before you arrive, and so you will not get to see what you have paid for.
7) Are there any other magicians in the area you would recommend / advise against?
You might think it would be counter-productive for one magician to advertise the services of another magician. However, as of recent times, reality TV shows such as Britain's / America's got talent have portrayed magicians in such a poor light that the magic community is happy to recommend good magicians and warn against poor ones.
8) Do you have references that we could contact?
Ask for references even if you have no intentions on calling the person. The magicians reaction to the question will give you more than enough information. If he struggles to think of anyone who could give a positive reference; he either (a) has never worked as a wedding magician (b) doesn't believe that his wedding clients will give a positive review or (c) (if they feel awkward about giving someone else's details) have probably not provided a service to the client.
9) What do you wear whilst performing?
Magicians are performing artists and therefore may express themselves through fashion. There are some younger magicians that perform in jeans and a t-shirt, which may not be what you want on your wedding day - be sure to ask.
10) Are you insured?
Every professional performer should have insurance. Chances are they'll never use it, but if they're not willing to make an investment in themselves, why should you make an investment in them?
11) Can you provide me with a contract / invoice?
If the magician can provide you in advance with a contract and an invoice later, then he at least views his own services in a professional light. If he can't provide you with these documents, chances are he is amateur / semi-professional.
12) Do you have a sound system / PA system?
If you are having more than 100 guests at your wedding, it is advisable to use a sound system / PA system during the speeches. Most professional magicians will have a sound system and will be able to provide it for free or for a small charge, which will usually be less than what it costs to hire it from another company.
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