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Profile of SpringBizkit
Hey there!
So I'm doing more and more weddings lately and I’ve been asked to do more stage acts.
I’m looking to do a 20 minute stage show for a wedding. Would be nice if it was mainly generic enough but could be customised for single shows. The bride and groom may or
May not be present. They may not come up on stage. But I'm thinking something that could have a nice progression.
Presentation example could be about the milestones we have in life. Our first day in school, first time driving or having the first drink. Graduations maybe. And then marriage.
So I'm thinking a which hand coin effect as a young mild stone. To a book test for a college milestone, and then something on wedding for the final milestone.
Would be awesome if at the end it all connected in some way.
What do you use for a 20 minute stage act for weddings?
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Profile of jiggyjer
I'll begin by saying your mileage may vary. I've never seen you perform and know nothing about your act. I may, however be the most qualified person on this forum to deal with this question. Ive been practicing magic going on 2 decades now but am not very active lately at all. I've been involved in the restaurant business for the same amount of time. I began as a bartender and performed a lot of bar magic and bar stunts in my early years from behind a bar in Toronto. My favourite stunt back when you could smoke in bars, was letting people choose either of my two hands and then any finger on that hand and then letting them burn that fingertip with the end of a burning cigarette for as long as they felt comfortable. Not really magic but it always got a great reaction.
Currently, and more germain to the topic at hand, I am partnered in a sizeable banquet hall (as a restauranteur not a magician) in the city and we host mainly weddings. I don't perform at the venue (or much at all anymore), but I have seen countless magicians come though our doors including mentalists. I personally would never perform a mentalism stage act in a wedding environment. The average wedding tends to progress as follows: Ceremony followed by an hour to 1.5 hours of cocktails before dinner. Cocktail hour tends to be pretty lively at weddings as everyone crowds to the bar and mingles with relatives and friends they haven't seen in a long time. Making space for a good stage show during this time is very very hard. Every performer I ever saw try it went over like a lead balloon and became the but of conversational jokes as the night progressed.

Performing during dinner: Also very very difficult. You're competing against serving staff and a well oiled kitchen machinery that wants nothing more than to churn out the next course and couldn't give a sod about your big closer.

After dinner: The guests have been cooped up at their tables for the better part of 3 or four courses and just want to get up and dance at this point. Performers who attempted it faced blank stares and a bored disinterested crowd. And once the dance floor opens, well good luck stopping that train to make space for a stage show.

Conversely: Close up performers, even one's that I thought were verging on incompetent, often got great pockets of reactions as they moved from group to group during cocktail hour. Lots of invisible decks. Lots of nail writers or impression pads. Lots of amazed water cooler talk at the bar throughout the night.

Also its worth asking-- what can you really accomplish in 20 minutes on stage. 5 minute introduction to who you are, 10 minute opener leaving what, 5 minutes to tie it all together and bring it home. Risky business in my opinion, but again, maybe you've cracked the nut and know something I don't.

You may also want to consider asking the couple to provide you with a table to work from somewhere in the room or on a patio area. Not quite a stage but you could insist on your own space. During an hour of cocktails a few three act pieces (groups of 3 effects) would take you to the finish line and would allow people to enter your space and leave it in a short period of time.

In opposition to weddings, mentalists doing stage acts for corporate groups during office parties have had more success and I chalk this up to the difference in crowds. Unlike weddings were people are eager to reconnect after long absences from each other, corporate groups see each other all the time and seem happier to sit still for a performance together rather than raucously lining up at the bar and trying to take down the same number of tequila shots they used to back in college together.

Just my 2 cents.

PS, if spoon bending is part of your act, please have pity on the management and bring your own spoons!

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Profile of mixman
I agree with jiggyjer on some points. My experience is 40+ years as both as a Magician/mentalist and as a DJ. I perform around a hundred weddings a year on average. I also have around 20 years FOH experience in restaurant management. The best time to do a stage typer performance at a wedding reception is near the end of the meal just before the toasts. By the way, your performance will be much more successful if you have already warmed up your audience with some strolling performances during cocktail hour. 20 minutes would be the absolute longest I would do. For me, 15 minutes is more comfortable. That gives me time for around 3 effects. One to establish my credentials, and two where I involve the Bride and Groom. This is absolutely essential. This is their big day and they are the stars of the evening, whether you like it or not. Effects that use their involvement work best. Especially if it makes them look like the heroes. Routines that have worked for me in the past are "Cue the Magic" where the Groom reads the cue cards and the Bride chooses the card. Bond Lee's Tic Tac Toe with a photo of the Bride and Groom on the back (this is my current closer). A photo album book test with pictures of the couple works well. have also ended with the Delben double wrist chopper with the Bride and Groom for some pretty good comedy. I hope this helps get you started.
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Profile of Mindpro
I too have a great deal of wedding experience and think a "which hand" effect would be a poor choice. The proper place for this is just after dinner or as dinner is ending, before the bar opens, and you have all seated and their attention.

It should feature or be based around the wedding theme and the wedding couple, bridal party, and/or families. This presents so many opportunities for effects that play large, that are mass-appeal and retain the bride and groom as the stars of the celebration. It is not about you but is about them and the celebration of the day. So many great possibilities here, wouldn't waste it on something as small as a which hand effect. Think, larger, more fun, having more involved, and very visual.

Since you are posting it here we are to assume you are talking a mentalism show. Stay away from cheesy magic, use the themes of connection, how well they know each other, mind reading, thought projection, etc. Stay away from tricks.
John C
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Profile of John C
I never understood why anyone would want to interrupt a most intimate event with a stage show of any type. I can see walk-around of course.

NOT me. I wouldn't even perform a stage show at a wedding.I would feel totally out of place.
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
Aaron Vlack
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Profile of Aaron Vlack
Get your ideas from the couple. don't ask us, we don't know the context. Customize each show.
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Profile of Mindpro
I disagree completely. You create your own show based around the market. The couple doesn't know anything about it. The minute you open it to laymen (bride and groom) all kinds of unrealistic, impractical things, some with no entertainment value, become presented. No way. Create your own performance based on in-depth knowledge and understanding of the wedding market and wedding reception dynamics.
Louis Gordon
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Profile of Louis Gordon
I agree create your own show. Even create the 20 minutes but do not let the bride and groom control the show. If you want have one effect where you can customize it to the bride and groom request then go for that. I am a fan of this and even have my act set so I segment it. What I mean is that each piece is like a puzzle I can add or subtract to get the right length of show as well and each piece fits the full story. Just be personable and engaging.
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