This month, I ask entertainment expert Richard Parsons from
The Gloucestershire Magician what tricks he has up his sleeve for
couples looking to get married.
1. What does Gloucestershire Magician do and how long have you been in business?
I’m a full time professional close up magician based in Gloucestershire – I started performing properly in 2009 and now perform close up magic at many weddings, corporate events, Christmas parties and private parties throughout the year. Despite the domain name (www.gloucestershiremagician.co.uk) I actually travel all over to events, South West, London, UK and Internationally.
I was recently voted The Wedding Industry Awards (TWIA) 2017 South West Best Wedding entertainment (non musical) and as a regional winner went on to represent the South West at the National awards in London in January of this year which was a real honour.
2. What should a couple expect to be asked when looking for a magician for their wedding day?
It is really helpful to know as much detail as possible about the wedding day so that I can provide the right service and quote, so either on email or phone I ask where the venue is, how many guests (approx) they have, how many children are at the wedding, when are they thinking of having close-up magic?. You would be amazed at how many people don’t say WHERE they are getting married when they enquire so that’s really vital…
3. What is the process of booking a magician?
I can fit in with any part of the wedding day but normally I get booked for either:
- The drinks reception during the photos or
- The wedding breakfast (or drinks reception AND wedding breakfast) or
- Early evening after the wedding breakfast
Each magician may have their own requirements, but for me personally to actually make the booking is simple, I take a deposit to reserve the time and date and email a booking contract for the couple to complete and return.
4. How do you price your services?
I always quote per event as they can vary so much. I can be performing close up magic at a local wedding for 30 people…or later this year I’m flying to Madrid, Spain for two nights to entertain at a Spanish wedding for over 100 guests (thanks to www.plannedforperfection.co.uk for that one!)…people are welcome to contact me anytime for a bespoke quote. My refund policy is outlined in my booking contract terms and conditions.
5. What props or equipment do you use?
Ooh that’s a secret! Only joking… I perform close up magic with cards of course, and also coins, fire, other small props, rings, money, sponge balls (great for children) and I’m also a pickpocket entertainer so sometimes I borrow other people’s stuff! But don’t worry I’m an honest pickpocket – I give it all back much to everyone’s amusement. All of my magic is family friendly and suits any age group which is one reason why magic is ideal entertainment for a wedding as there are so many different ages among the guests and yet magic tends to appeal to all.
6. Do couples need to check for certain qualifications or insurances when booking a magician?
Yes, the couple should check the magician has professional insurance cover (PLI) as some venues will insist on it to perform, and even require the PLI certificate beforehand. I have my cover through Equity the trade union for professional performers.
Though not essential, it is also worth checking if the magician is a Member of The Magic Circle. http://themagiccircle.co.uk/find-a-magician/profile/userprofile/richardparsons
If they are, then they can be assured that the magician has at least performed and passed an audition in front of about 50 people and 3 judges in London at the Magic Circle HQ. It is a mark of quality and I passed my Magic Circle audition in November 2012 and have been a member ever since. There are only about 1500 members of The Magic Circle in the world!
Lastly ask the magician about their experience. Look at feedback, videos and photos – does this person look like they perform at weddings and events week-in-week-out? Do they have good feedback from couples on their Facebook page that have used them?
At the end of the day they are representing you on your very special day. You need a professional that is going to do a really good job for you and some of that (in my opinion) is even looking the part and being responsible – being dressed very smart, professional, courteous, on time etc. People notice.
7. Is there anything a couple should worry about?
Not that I can think of as long as the magician is experienced.
8. Are you seeing any trends at the moment?
I’m certainly seeing a trend in 2016 and 2017 for smaller more intimate weddings of say 30-50 people.
9. What are the best and worst things about being a magician?
Best things: The reactions that I get from guests; Making people laugh; Creating memories at events; Helping to create wonderful photo opportunities with guests laughing and reacting; The freedom to work wherever and whenever I want to, being self employed; Visiting some wonderful locations and venues; Doing something I love as a profession.
Worst things: The unsociable hours, missing lots of special occasions – for example I haven’t spent New Year’s Eve with my family for years and very rarely have a weekend where I am not working; Road closures especially at night when you want to get home; Trying to find something decent to eat late at night; Chasing invoices!
10. What one top tip would you give to newly engaged couples when looking for a magician?
Contact them and book them early to get availability – most professional magicians will get booked up in advance especially on Fridays and Saturdays!
All photo credit – Eve Dunlop Photography
Contact Name: Richard Parsons
Location / Coverage: South West, London, UK, International