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How To Make Sure Everyone Has A Great Time At My Wedding! with Owen Strickland, Magician and Michelle Taylor, The Funky Celebrant

How To Make Sure Everyone Has A Great Time At My Wedding! Tips and wedding planning advice from the pros! Why your Ceremony and Entertainment are essential!

Listen to Owen and Michelle on the Wedding Espresso Awesome DIY Wedding Planning Podcast…


Owen Strickland Magic

Michelle Taylor from The Funky Celebrant


James: [00:00:01] Hello everybody and welcome to our Wedding Espresso Meet Up. I am delighted today to be joined by super bubbly Michelle and the awesome Owen Strickland, who will be introducing themselves in just a moment. But first just a brief overview of what we’ve got coming up today. We are going to be discussing…

“how to make sure everyone has a great time at your wedding”.

Then Michelle is going to take us through some symbolic rituals, and then Owen is going to share how to amaze your guests. So some really, really cool stuff coming up there. Now without further ado, I would just like my co-host to introduce themselves. So if you want to just say hello and just tell everybody what you do in a couple of sentences, that would be great. And we’ll start with you Owen. 

Owen: [00:00:44] Well hello everyone.

My name’s Owen Strickland. I am a close up magician. 90 percent of my work is weddings.

I do about 70 or 80 a year, all across the Midlands. And I solve problems and hopefully make your day extra, no pun intended, extra magical. That is a pun isn’t it, that’s an awful pun, but hopefully you get the idea. 

James: [00:01:08] We’ll let it slide. 

Owen: [00:01:09] Yeah do that! 

James: [00:01:10] Awesome thanks, and Michelle would you like to say hello and just explain to everybody a little bit about what you do. 

Michelle: [00:01:18] Yeah. Hi everybody.

My name’s Michelle Taylor. I’m a wedding and family celebrant. So obviously mainly weddings, but I do baby namings and lots of other different things. If you can find a reason to celebrate, I can write you a ceremony and deliver it for you.

So same as Owen, I’m all about making your day pretty magical. I’m a complete Harry Potter nut, so anything magical for me Owen, is absolutely yeah, let’s go for it. 

Owen: [00:01:43] You do know it’s not real? Harry Potter’s just a film? 

James: [00:01:49] It is real! Only the facts have been changed! 

Owen: [00:01:51] Yeah that’s exactly it. 

James: [00:01:55] Great stuff. Thanks so much Michelle. Cool, right so our hot topic this week has been “how to make sure everyone has a great time at my wedding”. Not mine specifically, but obviously your wedding.

Now the number one tip I think for anybody planning a wedding is just to make sure that the timings are super tight. Because everybody is having a great time whilst things are bobbing on at a fair old pace. 

James: [00:02:25] Now the day generally starts for the bride and groom to be, obviously with the preparations and stuff, but for the guests, the day really starts with the ceremony. That’s why I’m super happy to have Michelle on today because the ceremony is where it starts. You know if you’ve got a great ceremony that you’ve worked on as a couple, that you’ve designed with someone who is as passionate as Michelle is, you are going to have a fantastic time with your family. All your guests are going to enjoy it. They’re going to be buzzing, excited. And what an amazing way to start the day. 

James: [00:02:57] Now obviously once you’ve built up that kind of excitement and thrill amongst your guests, and they realise this is going to be a fantastic day, they’re going to have a good time.

The next most important thing to do is make sure that there isn’t a lull during the drinks reception.

So it’s awesome that I’ve got Owen on today because Owen is able to step in there and literally just take over with your guests, keeping them entertained while you attend to those important things like getting your photos done and stuff. So having that pace and that timing is absolutely essential. 

James: [00:03:29] The one thing you do not want is downtime. That kind of hour or two hours where people are not sure what they’re doing, there’s a massive lull. It kills the buzz. You’ve got to keep things moving. So having a very, very tight time plan, and there are loads of suppliers out there who can help you with the timings, to get them as tight as possible. And obviously it will depend on your venue and your logistics.

But the more things you add into the mix, and the more passion and energy you apply to these things, the better you are going to do, the better you are going to be able to entertain your guests thoroughly throughout the day.

So I’ll open up to you guys. What are your thoughts on this? 

Owen: [00:04:11] I agree with you, I think timings are important, but I notice at nearly every single wedding that I do, the timings quite quickly just go wrong. Because the bride or groom, whoever arrives second, will invariably be late, and so they should. It’s their day and it’s all about the entrance. And I get that. But I find that particularly if the venue of the actual ceremony is different to the reception, it could be a church or somewhere opposite. And it just staggers me how long it takes people from a different ceremony venue to get to the reception venue. I mean it staggers me. 

Owen: [00:04:55] But I also do some where it’s 10 or 15 miles away. So all the planning in the world to get to the reception venue at 1 o’clock, it’s going to be 1.45pm. But the first guests will get there at 1 o’clock. But by the time the last guest gets there, it’ll be 1.45pm. And that lull…

it is a common theme with magicians throughout the day, that that’s really where any entertainer… I’m a magician so I’m biased, so I will say a magician, will keep those guests that get there at 1 o’clock, entertained until the bride and groom get there, or the groom and groom, or the bride and bride, until the happy couple get there, because they’ll probably stop for photographs somewhere else. 

Owen: [00:05:35] But even if it’s an all in one venue, I find that the timings just go wrong. The bride can be staying at the hotel the night before. She’ll still be 20 minutes late, and that’s absolutely fine. And that’s where we step in, and we can look after the guests when you’re not there, or the happy couple aren’t there to look after them. We solve that problem, and it stops them getting bored. It stops them just nailing the free shots, and the free prosecco, and all the rest of it, and getting drunk by 2 o’clock. So yeah that’s where we can really, really help you, and throughout the day. 

Owen: [00:06:11]

The lull between the wedding breakfast in the evening is a real popular one because again, if it’s an early breakfast, and the evening reception doesn’t start till 7pm or 7.30pm.

If it’s a venue where there’s no accommodation, then you might have two hours where the guests are sat thinking “what are we going to do now?” And God forbid it’s a rainy day. They can’t go outside in the garden, so it might be a small venue, everyone’s inside, the kids are playing up, Auntie Jean’s moaning, and that’s where you need stuff to keep people entertained, and keep them having a good time, which is the whole theme of today. 

James: [00:06:47] I’m really glad you actually brought that up Owen, because whilst I’m saying you know, keep your timings tight…

obviously having a plan that acknowledges the fact that the timings are going to slip, that’s part of the magic.

And like you said, there’s that pun again. And like you said, it’s filling that gap, that’s really important. And knowing that it’s going to happen! 

Owen: [00:07:10] And it will. As much as you try and educate people, myself, I find particularly at wedding fairs, “no, no my day will be like military clockwork” and you’re like OK. If it isn’t, I’ll be there to look after it anyway. 

Michelle: [00:07:27] I’ve had so many couples that literally micromanage to “this will happen at 18 minutes past the hour.” And I just look at them and laugh. It’ll happen when it happens. Have a rough idea, but…

be prepared that it’s going to go completely out the window, and you’re going to have a good time anyway. 

Owen: [00:07:47] Absolutely. And If the guests are relaxed, and I think it will come back to the theme, what makes everyone able to have a good time, is if they’re relaxed. Because if they’re relaxed, they’ll have a good time. I’ve been to stuffy weddings where people initially struggle to relax, and sometimes venues… I do a lot of the high end venues, and some people, that intimidates them, because they don’t know how to… behave is the wrong word. But how to sort of act in that venue.

So if you can relax quickly, and a few drinks help, and entertainment helps, and getting the day, with the ceremony, with yourself Michelle, getting the day on the right footing, they soon feel part of it, and get relaxed. And once they’re relaxed, everyone’s having a good time. 

Michelle: [00:08:28] But when they know what to expect, and like you say, the ceremony sets it up really doesn’t it?

When they know it’s going to be a fun and relaxed ceremony, they know the rest of the day should follow the same route.

So that’s why whenever people come to my ceremonies… I mean I always mill around for half an hour as well afterwards, or so. And people are really, really chill because they’ve had such fun during the ceremony. They just know whatever else is coming, be it the magician, be it the singer, be it anybody else, it’s going to be in the same vein, because the couple have really, really thought out how they’re going to keep everybody entertained in that lull. So yeah it really does work. 

Owen: [00:09:05] And about relaxing, this is a true story. I was the magician at this wedding, but I was also a guest. They had a Buy One Get One Free. But the bride’s father really awfully passed away, four days before the wedding. And I think there was a lot of discussion about should the wedding go ahead? And the ceremony, the vicar or the priest, not sure which, he gave such a lovely, relaxing, sort of five minutes about why no one should feel bad, this is about enjoying the day. Because no one knew how to react on the day. Do we not enjoy ourselves? And he gave five minutes that you could see everyone go, “ahhh! It’s going to be a good day after all.” And the bride and groom bounced off that, and I think without that five minutes, the first two hours of that wedding would have been really, really awkward. But actually as it was, from the minute that the bride came in, looking beautiful, a friend of mine, and everyone was relaxed and it really, really helped. 

James: [00:10:11] I think to a certain degree, like you were saying Owen…

people come to certain venues and they can feel uncomfortable. That’s probably because there is a sense of unfamiliarity. And then once you bring in something that is familiar like “oh you know, this celebrant’s fun”, you know, we’re going to enjoy this. Or “oh look there’s a magician, I love magic”. You know, and then you get that sense of familiarity, and then you’re able to relax. 

Owen: [00:10:36] It’s okay to enjoy yourself in this amazing venue. Although it is amazing, you’re here to have fun. If you can lead and you laugh out loud, because some people, you find that they’re so reserved, they don’t even laugh out loud because it’s such a grand venue. And there’s a place up the road, I won’t name it, it wouldn’t be fair, but it’s so grand. But some people would be intimidated by it. And once inside they’re like “oh, I should sit here quiet and prim and proper.” Then I come in saying “hiya” and then they’re like “ah, Owen”, and it just gets them in the mood. 

James: [00:11:08] That’s cool. Any other thoughts Michelle on this hot topic? 

Michelle: [00:11:14] Yeah. I think when I turn up, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen me?

I wear Doc Martins, and bright skirts and bright under skirts. And so it’s a question of they know that tone is set from the second they see me.

And I get the grannies looking at me. High end venues, I mean I do few, I don’t do many because a lot of my stuff tends to be outdoors. But I do a few at the high end venues, and they’re looking at me saying “what’s just walked in?” By the end of the ceremony, I’ve got them eating out of my hand, and it’s following it through, following the entertainment through to that end. And I think that having the magician, I’ve only been to a couple of ceremonies where they’ve had a magician. But I’ve had quite a few where they’ve had a singer, or a band, or something like that. And I don’t care what they do. I think it’s awesome just to have some entertainment. 

Owen: [00:12:08] A Magician in the ceremony? 

Michelle: [00:12:11] No, sorry, afterwards, well I’m the magic in the ceremony obviously. 

Owen: [00:12:16] I was going to say I’ve never been asked to do that. And no, no you’re alright, I’ll do it afterwards. 

Michelle: [00:12:18] That’s got me thinking… 

Owen: [00:12:22] When they go to sign the register, I’ll just go ahead and do a bit. 

Michelle: [00:12:26] Yeah but it’s straight after the ceremony for that bit of entertainment. Yeah it’s just brilliant. And…

couples now are realising that they’re not restricted to having to sit there while their guests twiddle their thumbs.

And I’m in so many forums that have got so many couples saying “oh we’ve got two hours, we’ve got an hour, or whatever, what shall we do?” And people are piping up with all the suggestions and things like that. So I think it’s very much in the forefront of a lot of people’s minds. We’ve got this lull. What should we fill it with? Whatever you can afford to fill it with, fill it. 

Owen: [00:13:02] Absolutely! 

James: [00:13:02] Awesome, thanks guys. So I mean to just to summarise there, the sort of the plan is to have a very, very tight time plan. Ignore the tight time plan because it won’t work. Fill up the rest of the time, where the time plan isn’t working, with great things to entertain your guests. And you’ve got it! You’ve nailed it! That’s it! 

Michelle: [00:13:23] Awesome wedding! 

Owen: [00:13:23] Awesome wedding, yeah. 

James: [00:13:27] Do that and you can’t possibly go wrong. Great. That was really good. Thanks guys. 

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  • Reply
    michelle taylor
    December 7, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Several of my couples recently have been chatting about entertainment, it’s fab that I can point them in the direction of something fun and very inclusive.

    • Reply
      James Pearson
      December 7, 2018 at 1:01 pm

      Thanks again for sharing Michelle, great advice and ideas there 🙂 Can’t wait till next time!!!

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