If you haven't come across Ricky Locke yet, you need to. He is one of the most likeable people I have met in the wedding industry and when I found out his life has been through a few changes recently, I was eager to know more...
Based in Bourne, Lincolnshire, Ricky has been performing magic for about 14 years but turned professional in 2015. He started small, with a trick he learned from a friend and was pursuing his hobby alongside a rising career in management.
Ricky went straight into working for Argos aged 16 and rose through the ranks to become a National Trainer. This meant lots of travelling, key note speaking and engaging with different groups of people. He says this has been invaluable in honing his skills as a magician. You might think "what does talking to people have to do with magic?" but it's all a performance. We bonded over the idea of getting up on a stage and having to deliver, be it a concert, speech or a magic trick. You have to have the ability to draw people in, and Ricky certainly has that.
He made the decision earlier this year to focus solely on magic, and this coincided with the beginning of lockdown, meaning he suddenly had a lot more time on his hands! For a self-confessed extrovert, this has been tricky. But he has been finding ways to connect with people, either through Facebook lives, interviews or chatting to me for this blog!
I was curious to understand the journey to becoming a professional magician. Having been practicing on family and friends for years, Ricky joined the Peterborough Socieity of Magicians which meant exposure to different tricks, performing in front of people and constantly learning. In 2016 he became an Apprentice to The Magic Circle, the most prestigious magicians community in the UK. There are weekly events in London to which Ricky is allowed to bring one guest. He said it's very surreal to walk into a venue and see on his idols like Derren Brown just sitting having a pint!
To become a fully fledged member of The Magic Circle, Ricky needed to pass a gruelling exam. Whatever area you work in, imagine being asked to present for up to 12 minutes to an audience of 30 professional who know every move you're making. This is what Ricky had to do; a magic show to a room full of people who knew exactly how he was doing everything that the rest of us just find absolutely mind blowing. He had to be flawless. Luckily, he passed first time and was inducted as a member in 2017. The dream, he says, is to become an Inner Member, something that is incredibly prestigous and requires nomination from other members. Fingers crossed!
So let's turn our attention to weddings & events, as Ricky did in 2015 when he first performed at the wedding of a friend of a friend. You would be amazed how many wedding industry professional begin in this way! Ricky describes himself as a performer first, a magician second. Something that was fascinating about our talk and that has stayed with me is the way he described a trick as being something anyone can do and learn, but the magic is the way that that trick makes them feel. It's exactly the same with music - anyone can learn and play a piece, but it's the emotional engagement with an audience that gives me (and hopefully the audience!) the buzz. It's a truly unique experience and one which we both feel lucky enough to have access to.
Ricky wants to create a unique, unforgettable and fun experience at weddings and has honed his skills so that he just blends into the fabric of a wedding; he'll strike up a conversation with guests, create a rapport and then the magic begins. He always has a special trick that he saves for the couple however. He is sworn to secrecy on that one, for obvious reasons!
The best time for magic is during the drinks reception when everyone has come down from the excitement of seeing their friends marry and it can be the first lull in the day. The optimum length of time is 2 hours which allows Ricky to get round everyone, create a buzz and an immediate conversation starter once the wedding breakfast begins. Ricky is keen to break the traditional image of a top hat and white rabbits that a lot of people associate with magicians and I can speak from experience in saying that his tricks stay in your mind a lot longer than anything I've seen on TV!
So why book Ricky? Well, for one he will put his absolute all into your wedding. He feels privileged to be booked for a wedding as couples are investing their hard earned money into something they feel will make the happiest day of their lives unique and memorable. Ricky is incredibly friendly and easy going but also very professional and you will always feel in safe hands. He loves performing at rustic and barn weddings and lists among his favourite venues The William Cecil in Stamford, Barnsdale Lodge and Irnham Hall. He also loves Bassmead Manor Barns but has been banned from performing there by his fiancé until after they themselves have tied the knot there!
So in short, Ricky makes an exciting, unique addition to your day and will leave your guests talking for years to come!
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