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The Secrets Of Wedding Magic! with Owen Strickland, Magician and Michelle Taylor, The Funky Celebrant

The Secrets Of Wedding Magic! Owen Strickland Wedding Magician shares some insight into why magic works at your Wedding and how to pick the right magician!

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


Owen Strickland Magic

Michelle Taylor from The Funky Celebrant


James: [00:00:00] Michelle…

What do you think brides and grooms to be should be asking Owen before they consider booking a wedding magician? 

Michelle: [00:00:07] What do I think? Do couples actually ask you for a particular style of magic? Or is it just quite generic? 

Owen: [00:00:19] My style is my style. 90 percent of couples that book me have normally met me at a wedding fair. That’s where most of my bookings come from. So they’ve already met me.

I tend to almost get more bookings from people who hadn’t considered the magician, and then seen me, and book me, which is very nice.

Sometimes I get asked if I can be part of a theme. So there was a Harry Potter one last year. They asked me if I’d wear a gown and a hat. If you really want me to I will. But I’d rather not. I’ll just be dressed… but I’ll fit in however I can. In the end they decided that they weren’t going to ask me to do that. But I would have done. So yeah, it’s not really a style of magic, because I’ve got what I call a working set, which you know fits anywhere. How you present it might be different, but the tricks generally will always be my working set. So I’ve not really answered that have I? So yeah it’s adapting to the day, or bespoke to whatever they want for the day. And there might be time differences or certain little things that they like, but my style really is my style. It would be difficult for me to become somebody else, but they’ve normally booked me anyway because they’ve met me, so they’re happy with my style. If that makes sense? 

Michelle: [00:01:35] It’s your personality as well isn’t it? 

Owen: [00:01:37] My girlfriend would argue I haven’t got one but yeah. Yeah.

I’ve always said about magicians, I think the most most important thing about a magician is not the magic almost, it’s how you can interact with people, and how you can make people feel relaxed,

and how you deal with the drunken alpha male or the drunken 22 year old who’s had 15 pints. And then straight away how you deal with a 6 year old girl who just wants to see some magic, because she loves Harry Potter. And it’s having that ability to do the whole range and present yourself well. I know some amazing technical magicians who are as dull as dishwater, and would be no good at a wedding. I know some amazing stage magicians who necessarily wouldn’t be great at a wedding, and vice versa. I’d be no good on stage. So I think personality and how you present yourself and your people skills certainly are to me, as important as your magic. 

Michelle: [00:02:33] So how many sets do you do? So I’m booking my wedding for next year. How many sets would I expect? 

Owen: [00:02:40] We would discuss how many people you’ve got, and your timings in your venue.

My most popular package, that I get booked more often than not, is mix and mingle magic as soon as the ceremony is over.

For reasons we’ve already touched on, it’ll be over running, it’ll be late. The happy couple go and get their photographs taken which is normally an hour and a half ish. Then I do table magic around the meal. Not while they eat, because I know what they’re going to spend on the food, and that they should be able to enjoy the food, but certainly between courses. Now I don’t put a time limit on that, within reason. I’m not going to stay for hours, but because one of the happy couple will probably be late, because the photographs can overrun, if you have a contract that says you’ll perform, for example, 2pm – 4pm, and she’s 20 minutes late, and the photographer over runs by half an hour. I’ve heard of magicians doing two tables at the wedding breakfast, looking at the watch and going “that’s it, time’s up, not my fault you were late”. So I stay on that package until I’ve done every table. It normally lasts between two and three hours, and I have a walking around set, and then I have a table set. Some people like the lull between the wedding breakfast and the evening. Particularly if there’s no accommodation, and some people like the evening. Again that’s more mix and mingle. Where I’ll do my mix and mingle set, and a little bit of table set. I mix it all up. It’s not all about sets. It’s not cast in stone. You kind of get a feel for how people are, and if they bounce with you, you might go one direction, if you know you can do that. So I’ve got about five or six actual working sets A, B, C, D and E. I use A, B and C at a Wedding, normally. 

Michelle: [00:04:22] Cool! 

James: [00:04:29] Awesome!

I’m just thinking about the video that you shared with us Owen, and everybody’s expressions, if I had to describe it, it’s like ultimate surprise and joy isn’t it? 

Owen: [00:04:40] Yeah, I think so. It’s shock and amazement I like to call it. 

James: [00:04:46] Shock and awe! 

Owen: [00:04:49] Shock and awe! But It’s knowing when to get photographers there, because there are certain tricks where, a red ball was produced as an example, I just know every time that happens, that’s the reaction. So if there’s a photographer there, that’s the one I’m going to do because that will get a better photograph than, still a very good card trick, that is still in my opinion, a good trick, but it hasn’t got that kind of wow moment. And that trick’s virtually guaranteed to get that reaction. If it doesn’t get the reaction, I go and headbutt walls and have a word with myself. There are certain tricks that you know will get that face. And that’s one of them. 

James: [00:05:29] Brilliant. I was going to ask you…

without revealing the secrets of magic, is there some magic to getting the right trick for the right audience? 

Owen: [00:05:40] Massively yes! Yeah and I think that comes with experience. I mean when I first started gigging I perhaps didn’t have that, and I was doing maybe the wrong tricks for the wrong crowd, at the wrong time. I like to think now, I do the right tricks for the right crowd, at the right time. And you need to, as you get through the day, your magic needs to get stronger. I like to think all my magic is strong, but I start off with a lower level, just as an icebreaker for the two families, just to get a bit of a talking point. I like to leave them when I’ve done the table set with my absolute best trick, because I can’t do any better than that. And I think there’s a little clip of that on that video. Leave them with your absolute best. Leave them wanting more. And that way you can go, and they’ll still be like wow that was brilliant. 

James: [00:06:30]

So from what I understand from a myriad of films and things and documentaries I’ve seen about magic, they tend to say that a lot of the success of magic is down to timing. 

Owen: [00:06:43] Massively! 

James: [00:06:43] Is there a kind of attention span that the typical wedding audience have, that you’ve got to work with? 

Owen: [00:06:51] I don’t know if it’s typical, it will depend on how much they’ve had to drink. Which is why when you first perform for someone, it’s called an opener, in magic. You need to do an opener, that’s quick, to the point, but will still get amazement. If you do… could be the best trick in the world, if it takes you seven minutes and you are just meeting someone and trying to do a seven minute trick, you’re going to lose them. So hit them hard, not literally, hit them with magic hard and fast and get their attention. Once you got their attention, then you can go into slightly longer effects. There’s some sort of mentalism effects, that you really need to have someone really onside having, maybe, throughout the day, had 10 or 15 minutes with them. Because once they’re really in the zone with you, you can then do some really strong stuff that takes that little bit longer. If you open with that, you lose them totally straight away. 

James: [00:07:43]

I’ve got to ask for the sake of Harry Potter. But do you ever use a wand? 

Owen: [00:07:48] Certainly no! 

Michelle: [00:07:50] You don’t know what you’re missing out on! 

Owen: [00:07:56] I might try and get one actually. I’m just going to Google one. 

Michelle: [00:07:57] I’ve got three here. 

Owen: [00:08:00] Have you?! 

James: [00:08:00] Do you use them in the ceremonies? 

Michelle: [00:08:02] Yeah. 

Owen: [00:08:05] Do you!!! 

Michelle: [00:08:06] Only one at a time though obviously! They get a choice of which one they’d like me to use. 

Owen: [00:08:09] Years ago an ex now, bought me a TV remote that was a wand. If you did that, it would turn it on, but it got that complicated, even for a magician, I ended up getting rid of it so no sadly, I don’t use a wand. 

James: [00:08:25] Awesome. Thanks so much Owen. 

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