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Topic: No more parlor shows on weddings! HELP!
Message: Posted by: WorkingMagi (Sep 28, 2009 12:34PM)
Hi there.

I have a problem and I'd like some input.

I'm a professional magician. Been working more than 7 years now. I do close-up and parlor. 90% of my work is in the 30-50 people birthday kinda gig.

Whenever I do a parlor show @ a wedding, I FAIL. Alas, not a complete failure, the tricks go ok. The problem is my vibe and the connection with the audience. IT SUCKS.

This surprises me because I'm good. I'm actually a talented performer. There's something about the big place and the tables and the quantity of people usually found in a wedding that ****s me up completely. I fear this environment.
It is kind of a vicious circle which I don't know how to break. I fail @ entertaining because I'm afraid and I'm afraid because I fail @ entertaining.

I usually do VERY good at small, intimate gigs. The show is usually very funny and everybody is very pleased with my personality.

It's a known fact that wedding gigs are full of surprises. Sometimes the place where the party is held is designed in such a way that many tables can't see or hear you or there is poor lighting or your show is badly scheduled and, more often than not, NOBODY is interested in entertainment. They just want to drink and eat.

The easy way out would be to completely dismiss this type of gigs but honestly I'd like to master this arena too. Why? I guess that it's a money thing. I'd like to be able to perform for more than a hundred people. There's usually more money in this events.

Has anybody got any bad or good experiences in weddings that you'd like to share?
Any pointer on how to improve my game is appreciated.

Message: Posted by: RJE (Sep 28, 2009 01:43PM)
I have done very few wedding shows over the past 30 years.

Whenever possible, I decline them and say that the Bride and Groom should be the only stars of the evening. This usually occurs when someone other than these two are trying to book us.

On the rare occaision that I do take them, this is when either the Bride or Groom has asked and won't be dissuaded, I try to make it as short as possible, maybe 15 to 20 minutes.

To me, it just seems to be an intrusion on a really personal moment.
Message: Posted by: Sixten (Sep 28, 2009 01:48PM)
Hi WorkingMagi:

FWIW: (Ref.: Wedding receptions)
This is what I was told: (by a well known, not to laypeople, N.Y.C. magician, that was performing at a wedding reception. That I attended, as a invited guest)
"I just work the cocktail hour. And depending on the guest list, if need be, I will
hire, out of my own pocket, an additional magician to work the room. Once the
hour, or so, has gone by, and the guests leave the room, to go into the main room,
I leave the building. Because, trying to work the main room is a nightmare!"
(He informs all his clients, upfront, about this)

I don't know if this is any assistance to you?

Message: Posted by: WorkingMagi (Sep 28, 2009 09:35PM)
Thanks for the replies. They certainly helped.

It seems this shows at weddings thing is an international issue.

I've made my mind. For the moment being I'll simply perform in those environments I feel happy and secure. I just can't stand to give crappy shows.

I think one of the reasons why shows at weddings suck is because a wedding party is not place for a magic show. Guests only want to drink and eat and party.
Message: Posted by: Servaas Koomen (Oct 3, 2009 01:18PM)
Ive seen a magician once on a wedding day, but it was during the evening reception, just after dinner.

the guy had a personalised show for the couple. and it was very lovely.

so I think it probably depends on which part of the day you do your stuff. during the day itself it would feel inappropiate for me, but this was just perfect
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Mar 3, 2010 01:49AM)
Great post above-good points

Ive worked a few wedings but its mainly the walk around while the Bride & Groom
are away having Photos etc

Its more of an Ice Breaker for guests who don't know each other & keep
them entertained for a while-similar to conferences

If a performance is required indoors I think 1 item with lots of comedy would be sufficent
or a personalised 10 mins maybe for the couple

Its their day so as mentoned you need to keep it good but simple
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Jul 7, 2010 03:32AM)

Having just done a wedding-Im now more convinced that strolling for a short time is the way to go while guests are waiting etc or
during photo shoots of the couple while there away but that's it!

as soon as they show up-Stop!!
Message: Posted by: TONY L10 (Oct 22, 2010 07:09PM)
I have done a lot of weddings mainly while the Bride and Groom are having photo taken etc and it always gone down well. It breaks the ice kills any dead time where people are stood about waiting. As you will appreciate at wedding there are a lot of people who do not know each other stood around, a magician helps to get them all talking and relaxing between each other, it works well in my experience. It also works if they are having a sit down meal its just like working a restaurant going from table to table I have never had any problems with doing this as well. The only problem I think and people may not agree on this is the night time type event after the afternoon ceremony and afternoon meal, it usually turns into a loud disco dark lighting event and that is really hard to work.

Message: Posted by: Magic1 (Jan 8, 2011 01:10AM)
Working magi. DIfferent things work for different people, but I will offer you my best advice.

Here are some ideas:

1) Possibly use a flashy "magical" production to start. Very few words. Just a wow!

[Once you have their "respect" (that you could be good) or even before you do that - let's say you don't start with a wow/flash/fire thing]

2- call the secret of the room/make it about the wedding. So examples would be-
BOOM flashy thing then

Ladies and Gentlemen, John and Margret have asked me to do some of their favorite illusions for you today because they wanted this day to be magical. I think we can all agree that today is one we can remember for the rest of our lives. I'd like to beging with a toast

[Poem toast. Something special for the married couple]

And now, to help me with my first trick. You there sir. Uncle Solly? You're kind of a celebrity in this crowd. Would you help me with a trick?

The day is wholly and completely about love, the newlyweds, hope, the future, their family and friends. This is harder to do than it seems, but I have found that any attempt to make it about magic will finish you. And conversely, any attempt to make it about THEM will be rewarded 1000-fold.

So make a toast up front/honor the loved ones. Make the audience think/understand that them seeing magic is the bride and groom's wish. There is an interesting phenomenon- that on a wedding day everyone wants to please them. So you just have to use the above scripted line. Then honor the newlyweds and have your first routine use a character from the family. They want to see their friends be the stars of the show.

Do this and they won't be able NOT to watch you- riveted.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to think more deeply about this magic.
Message: Posted by: Magic1 (Jan 8, 2011 04:18AM)
PS When I wrote make it about the wedding or "call the secret of the room" I meant that if something really obvious is on everyone else's mind like how hot it is today, or how people had difficulty finding the venue, etc. (sort of a "group private joke" that won't offend the people who hired you to bring up) then that's another (somewhat risky) way to get the group to fall in love with you. Really hope this was helpful.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hoffman (Mar 2, 2011 05:21AM)
I offer 2 wedding packages.
1. Cocktail hour / picture waiting pre meal time only
2. The above Plus a kids show in a different room after dinner while the adult activities take place.

BEWARE - the parents will send their kids off with you with NO supervision since they just want to party. Not a problem for me but for an unseasoned kid performer they could take over.
Message: Posted by: kasper (Mar 4, 2011 10:18PM)
Yes! It seems as though a wedding would be difficult. The bride and groom is the center of attention. They should be. I couldn't imagine trying to do a show in this environment. I have worked as a wedding bartender. I have incorporated magic as I served drinks. The bar of course is off to the side. There is a certain group at the wedding that would rather drink and talk to the bartender and others at the bar. In this situation you are primarily a bartender. Its an added bonus that your a magician. The wedding planner enjoy is little bonus. It adds to the "magic' and atmosphere to a good wedding.