Could it be magic? Why you should book a magician for your big day

It’s already going to be a magical day, of course, but a professional illusionist will cast an extra spell on your guests

A member of the Magic Circle, Billy Reid will blow your guests’ minds!

My soon-to-be-married friend recently revealed that she and her other half have booked a magician to perform at their nuptials. I could hardly contain my excitement. I’m a sucker for magic. And I’m not the only one who feels like this: we’ve got Derren Brown doing hugely successful sellout tours, Dynamo on primetime and Criss Angel drawing huge crowds of awestruck admirers. Magic has never been so popular, or so edgy.

Wedding magicians are not going to levitate the way David Blaine does or saw a glamorous assistant in half like those old-school tricksters did, but they can still pull off some dazzling tricks – one of the best being creating a spellbinding atmosphere that’ll be remembered for years to come. So how do you go about finding and hiring an illusionist? We caught up with some of Scotland’s best to discover what they’ve got hidden up their sleeves.

Once the ceremony is over and your guests have congregated at the drinks reception, you and your beloved will be spending some quality time with the photographer. This opens up an hour or two when your friends can mingle, get to know each other and swap entertaining stories about you behind your back. Booking a magician to perform during this lull in the proceedings has several benefits: the guests will be so fascinated they won’t have time to get too tipsy before the meal, and it will give people a great topic of conversation.

 Paul Nardini mixes and mingles with your guests, performing amazing close-up magic
Paul Nardini mixes and mingles with your guests, performing amazing close-up magic

“This is definitely the most effective time for a magician to perform – there’s usually nothing else for guests to do except drink!” says wedding magician Paul Nardini. A professional who can break the ice and get guests chatting and laughing can really set the tone for the rest of the day. Even people who wouldn’t call themselves huge fans of magic tricks can still get caught up in the excitement.

“Magic has a universal appeal,” says Glasgow-based magician Billy Reid. “Not only is it a great way to entertain a crowd, it’s also something different, fun and memorable.” Another performer, Jody Greig, agrees: “An experienced wedding magician will be able to give you amazing entertainment that complements your special day and helps make it a great success.”

Watching a magician on stage can be amazing. But imagine just how much better it can be when it’s performed right in front of your eyes, or even under your nose. “People love to see magic up close and personal – tricks with cards, coins, fruit and borrowed items,” says Billy. Signing your name on a £10 note, putting it away, and then seeing it suddenly appear from inside lemon – an unpeeled lemon! – will blow you away. Trust me, I still can’t shake this trick from my mind.

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There are other illusions we love too – mind-reading being one particular favourite. A good magician will be able to work this into a routine to really impress and astound. “My wedding routines combine visual moments of astonishment, close-up comedy card routines, mischief with money and mental mind-reading,” confirms Jody.

A lot of wedding magicians will work their way around the room, performing to a small group of guests at a time, generating a buzzing atmosphere and ensuring no one witnesses the same trick twice. “Guests love magic that happens in their hands and in their minds,” says Jody. “It creates an unforgettable experience.”

It’s far better to book a professional for whom magic is a full-time career. “Booking a professional rather than an amateur will cost more money, but it’s the only way to make sure you get peace of mind, and your guests get a proper show,” confirms Jody.

Jody Greig specialises in providing amazing entertainment

Before booking any aspect of your big day, it’s always worth doing some research to ensure you’re not wasting your money. That is of course the case when it comes to hiring a magician. “It’s very important to have a thorough look at a magician’s website,” advises Billy. “Someone who is really good at what they do will have plenty of photographs, videos and reviews on there.”

We’d recommend looking over a range of reviews from different sources to work out which magician is right for your wedding. To aid your decision, find out if your magician has won any accolades, such as an industry-based award, or has any accreditations or professional memberships (Billy Reid, for example, is a member of the world-famous Magic Circle). Recognition for experience and expertise should help to put your mind at rest.

Something else to think about when deciding which magician to book is insurance. As Paul points out, “Of course you want a magician who’s experienced but it’s also important that they’re insured.” What happens if a trick goes wrong and there’s damage to the venue, or to a guest’s personal property? These are highly unlikely scenarios, of course, but it’s worth making sure your magician has public liability insurance to cover the cost of legal action and compensation claims. Once you’ve got all this sorted, you can sit back, relax and let the magic happen!