A common question is “How much does it cost to hire a magician?”
Like any wedding supplier there are always going to be magicians who are very cheap and those who charge a fortune. Based on a straw poll with other magicians in the area the average price for 2 hours of close up magic performed in the north-east is between £200-500.
Of course there will always be some budding close up magicians who are prepared to perform for much less and others who charge a fortune, especially if they have any kind of celebrity profile in the media.
So one thing to decide is do you want a celebrity magician who some of your guests (probably not all) will know of and pay, possibly thousands or do you want someone who is probably equally competent, has plenty of experience and only charges you a few hundred.
Another factor is agents. Are you booking via an agent who will without doubt be adding on a percentage for themselves, for no added benefit to you. Its always best to go direct to your magician.
A third factor is distance that they will have to cover to get to your wedding reception. If they have to pay travel expenses and overnight accommodation then that is obviously going to radically increase the price they will quote you. Booking locally will always be the cheapest option.
So go direct (not through an agent), find some local magicians, local to your area and find out their level of experience. Take some time to read independent reviews either on Google, Facebook or on their own website (providing the reviews are guaranteed to be independent of course). Here are some reviews of mine.
People sometimes ask me if I can quote for just an hour, or just for two hours and I know some magicians will work on an hourly basis. Bear in mind that although the hourly rate may seem high compared with some jobs, there is travel time to factor in and in my case I always practise and prepare for a gig beforehand for at least 2 to 3 hours. Some tricks stay embedded in the brain come what may for ever, other don't. So I always find it essential to rehearse and to prepare meticulously before every event.
I find that two hours is not nearly enough unless it is a very small gathering. A typical wedding has over 100 people spread over multiple tables. I never perform whilst people have food in their mouths - it just doesn't work. So I'm trying to get round every table, in between the courses and keeping an eye on the top table because if the bride or groom start to wander around the room greeting people then I have to plan how to get them back to their seats again so that I can show them some special effects that I reserve just for them.
I also feel that if you've booked me for the event then I should stay for the duration and try and get to everybody that wants to see some magic. Each table that I go to is like a mini show. I might be doing several different effects at each table and I don't want to rush off, because I've only got two hours and I've still got 6 tables to do.
Thats why I say, book me for the event, not by the hour. Ideally I don't want to disappoint anyone.