1) During the drinks reception
I always plan to arrive at a wedding reception early enough so that I can get familiar with the venue, find out where everything is and get ready, which for me means getting my strolling close up tricks out and into my pockets ready to perform.
I'm waiting for the guests to arrive, get their first drink and start congregating in small groups to chat. Once they've had a chance to settle a bit and relax I'm looking for the groups where I think people will be open to what I'm doing and where I can generate a buzz of excitement.
People ask me if I get nervous and yes, a bit, although I've been doing this long enough now to know how to combat that first bit of anxiety about approaching people. I start with tried and tested effects that play big for small groups, that I can do surrounded if necessary and can be performed and then repeated for another small group. Once I've performed for one small group I'm relaxed and if there's a bit of a buzz generated then this makes other people curious about what's going on and accustomed to there being a magician in the room.
I tend not to start with children as that gives an impression that I am primarily there to entertain the children which is not the impression I want to give. I will engage the children later on once I've performed for a few adult groups.
2) During the wedding breakfast or meal
Whether there's a formal wedding breakfast with multiple courses, or just a buffet, my approach is similar. There are many effects I can perform that require a small amount of table space.
Depending on time I will usually wait until people have had a chance to eat something as they are often hungry if they've travelled a long way to get to the wedding and its often mid-afternoon before they get chance to eat again. Their priority may not be on the magic if they are hungry.
I avoid approaching tables where there are people eating, at least during the first couple of courses of a meal. Its much better for me to perform in between courses when people have their hands free and they don't have food in their mouths. Later on during deserts and coffee its much more relaxed and anything goes.
I can stay performing at tables until there's a general exit of people so that the venue staff can turn the room around for the evening party. If there's a suitable bar area or separate room to continue in I can carry on performing, especially if some of the guests missed out of the magic during the meal.
3) The evening party
In the evening there are often new guests arriving. Some of them will be seated and some will be standing so its more of a mixture of strolling and table magic that I can perform depending on what's happening at the time. Flexibility is key for me. I may also get a chance to perform something that really belongs in a cabaret show. As long as people are enjoying the magic and having fun with it - that's what counts for me.
There is a natural end time for me which is when the music and dancing starts. Music in the background during the rest of the day is fine but usually the music once the dancing starts is of a volume that makes it difficult for me to communicate with people and I have to be able to talk to people to do what I do.
I am a big fan of music myself and when I play my bass ukulele at concerts its often cranked up to fill the room but I don't expect there to be a magician trying to work the room whilst I'm playing.