The King & Queen
One of my favourite venues to perform at weddings over the last few years was the beautiful Stancliffe Hall in Darley Dale, Derbyshire. It’s a grade 2 listed property set in around 500 acres of private land. It’s a lovely and welcoming place, one where I’ve grown to become friends with the owners and performed for them privately at parties and gatherings.
The owners recently took the decision to stop hosting weddings there from the end of 2014. I performed my last wedding at Stancliffe in August of that same year and know I will miss it dearly. The very last effect I performed there was for the bride and groom who had watched me perform throughout the drinks reception. It was a request, which was quite unusual, in that they wanted to have a ‘go’ at the 'Body Language' reading with playing cards. (For the routine 'Body Language' please see 'The Black Project' and/or Looch's 1st Penguin LIVE Lecture) When people watch the routine, they start to latch onto the patterns and ‘tells’ that people give away during the reveal and they had decided that they wanted to see if I could ‘read them’.
I had the cards mixed up by the groom and offered the cards for selection by dribbling them from one hand to the other. He called stop and I quickly read the marking, which in this particular case was the King of Hearts. I requested him not look at his card and also not show anyone, instead he was to sandwich it in-between his palms as I turned to address his wife. I offered a card for selection in the same way and upon her calling stop; I read the marking of her card, which to my complete surprise, was the Queen of Hearts.
I had found myself in a rather unique predicament. A bride and groom on their wedding day had both randomly selected cards that just happened to be the King & Queen of Hearts. What a perfect opportunity! I could grasp this opportunity and attempt to transform it into something special and memorable for the couple. So instead of going into the ‘Body Language’ routine, I opted to stop and talk. I told them that I attend more weddings per year than most people and that nearly all my previous clients have told me that their big day flew by so quickly, that they often struggled to think back and remember the details of the day, almost as if it was one big blur. I asked them if they would stop just for one minute and take in everything around them. They were surrounded by friends, family and loved ones and everyone has come together on this day to celebrate their love for one another.
I asked them if, in their time together had there been moments where they just instinctively ‘knew’ what the other person was thinking. They both said there had, and quite often they would finish each other’s sentences without much thought. I told them that some people believe this to be a ‘psychic connection’, whereas others prefer to believe it to be a natural rapport between couples that have spent a significant amount of time together. Whatever it was, it’s certainly a special bond that very few can understand until they experience it.
I continued by saying that on their wedding day, that special bond should be at its strongest, and sometimes, that bond can manifest itself in the most unusual of ways. I had the lady turn her card over to reveal its identity, she did and we all saw the Queen of Hearts. I smiled and said that it was a very appropriate card for the day, and that today she should realistically feel like a queen in love. I turned to the groom and smiled, I told him that if I was him, my luck would probably dictate I’d have selected the Joker or some other silly card, but I was willing to bet that all day he had experienced an unusual feeling in his heart and that fate often has a weird way of letting itself be known.
I asked him turn his card over and he was utterly gobsmacked, his wife screamed and he put his arm around her. Both their mouths were ajar and they just stared at me in complete amazement. After a few moments, they kissed and he spun her around, they thanked me profusely and I left the venue.
Driving back home, I thought about what had just happened, it was probably a once in a lifetime experience and I am very glad to have had to presence of mind to be able to just stop and steer the direction of the routine into a new area. The odds I believe were 1/52 multiplied by 1/51 which is 1/2652. I had taken advantage of a coincidence and turned it into a magical (not mental) moment. It was completely against the ‘mind reader’ character that I had spent years portraying but the reaction of the couple meant it felt fantastic.