• Stephen Simmons

Tips on your big day from a magician


I have been lucky enough to have performed at hundreds if not thousands of weddings during my career as a magician. I have seen the good and the bad. The difference is often down to planning. Some weddings have been so relaxed and well run everything flows together effortlessly, others however, have been stress filled, mainly down to know one knowing what's meant to be happening and when.

It doesn't have to be hard though. The key is down to preparation and organisation. Work smart not hard is a term that comes to mind.

I have complied here a few of my thoughts to help you make your day run smoothly, to give you and your guests the best possible day.

Ask for help. The wedding venue can be a great source of help. They will probably know a lot of the suppliers you are using and will be happy to answer any extra questions. They may not be able to advise on photography etc but for making timelines for the day they will be ideal!

Ask your friends and family for help as well, don't get overwhelmed with all the details when there are plenty of people you know who have been there and done that, this will save you lot of learning time. Ask your suppliers. Their job is to work at weddings! They will be able to help you determine when will be the best time to use their services on YOUR day. What worked well at one wedding might be totally different at another. Most suppliers offer bespoke services, so be prepared to listen to their thoughts, and be flexible about what they offer and when / where will work best from their perspective.

Make sure you have time to enjoy the day. Unfortunately far to often its the bride and groom who miss out on lots of the day. I remember a wedding last year where the bride and grooms photographer clearly had not been given a time limit as the after ceremony photos lasted 3 hours! That meant that myself and a few other suppliers who was due to perform during the drinks reception (for two hours) performed only for a few guests who was not having their photos taken. Of course we stayed on longer to ensure everyone got to see at least something, but it could have been a lot smoother if the photographer was given a 1 hour limit. Unfortunately this meant the bride and groom (and a lot of guests) where not able to enjoy a big chunk of the day.

Which leads me nicely onto my next point. Make sure you get professionals! Although its nice of uncle Jim to offer his photography skills for your wedding, remember that you might be left outside in the cold for 3 hours having photos taken because this is Jims moment and he gets a little carried away. I hear all to often of people hiring cheap magicians because 'any will do' and the magician doesn't turn up, or when he does he goes around insulting everyone. I cant stress this enough, but if you don't get professional suppliers, with good feedback, you are seriously risking them doing something that could ruin the whole day.

Make use of the best man and maid of honour to be doing to jobs for the day. After all that's the role they took on. Have them looking after suppliers payments if cash is needed, or taking a role in getting people in and out of rooms if there is no official announcer. Something as simple as banging a glass and calling people between rooms can save a lot of time compared to someone running around to different groups asking guests politely to move to the next room.

At many weddings its customary for the bride and groom wait by the doors to the dinning room to thank guests as they pile in. Just remember though, if you have invited 300 people, that's 300 people who will walk past to congratulate you. Although it can feel nice for a while, that's a long time to get everyone into the dinning room as everyone stops, shakes hand and says a few words. I have seen weddings delayed for over an hour just from people walking into the room for the wedding breakfast. Remember you have all day to thank guests individually so for larger weddings, a thank you during the speeches might be more appropriate.

Try to have everything in place a few days before the wedding. This will allow time should anything go wrong. You want to be in a position where you can get a good night sleep the night before, without having to worry, knowing everything is in place will save you from a lot of stress.

As a note, its definitely a good idea to have the bridesmaids and bachelor parties at least a week before!

When you do wake on your wedding day, get a good breakfast in you! This will help settle any nerves and make you feel alert and awake and give you the energy you will need throughout the day. Go for a high protein meal to get you off on the right foot.

Speaking of feet, Its also a good idea to break those shoes in ahead of time, the last thing you want is sore feet within the first 20 minutes, as this can really put a downer on the day and that first dance will look more of a first limp. For the bride is also an idea to pack flat soled shoes for the reception.

Allow plenty of time to get ready in the morning. You don't want to be in a position where you rushing around getting those final bits sorted, and everything turns into a bit of a flap. Assemble everyone well in advance of when you think you will need them, because there will be issues and delays. Have a list of to do's for the morning and check them off as you go.

Its a good idea to have a wedding day survivor kit given to one of the grooms-men or bridesmaids in case of emergencies. Have a first aid kit, especially if there are going to be kids running around, you will really appreciate this bit of advice if there is a bump or scrape. Stain remover, needle and thread etc – anything that might prove to quickly fix a minor emergency quickly and efficiently.

Put your phone away. You will very likely be getting lots of ping's and pokes from social media congratulating you on your big day. Don't respond, put your phone away and spend it with the people you have gather around you.

OK so I'm not your guardian, but please be careful with alcohol. I have performed at wedding evening reception before and both the bride and groom got so drunk they was upstairs having been put to bed. They missed the whole night and the guests was just milling about. Its also a good idea to keep your grooms-men / brides maids in check, weddings are long days and often drinking starts from first thing in the morning. Again I have performed at weddings where people are so drunk they turn into a magicians worst nightmare, they think its funny to grab cards or try and show up the magician (which will never work by the way) but really they just embarrass themselves and put everyone on edge. Take my advice, take it easy and keep everyone in check best you can.

Don't leave the DJ to his own Devices or it can get very cheesy very quickly (unless that's your style) Have a chat before hand and discuss the tone and style of music you want for the evening reception. It might be a good idea to have a list of songs to give to him before hand. If you have the DJ all day and they are providing music during the wedding breakfast it might seem nice to have slow romantic background music, but the style of music will determine the feel of the room. What I mean by this is if you have slow, soft music, expect gentle and quite conversations. So don't be afraid to have the music slightly up during this time to encourage chatting and create more of an atmosphere.

Finally, remember why you are there. Make sure you have time to spend with your partner!

Well there we go, a few ideas to hopefully see you through your big day!

See more at www.stephensimmonsmagic.co.uk


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