A MAGICIAN who played his cards right has been enchanting crowds at weddings across the Lake District.

Chris Cook, 27, from Kendal was named UK's Best Wedding Magician in the 2017 Bridebook Wedding Awards.

The performer has been working as a wedding entertainer for the past 10 years.

He said: "Performing at weddings is my speciality so I’m really pleased that Bridebook recognised all my hard work.

"Having a magician at your wedding might sound a bit unusual to most couples. My job is to help all the guests relax, laugh and have fun.

"I’m all about creating special memories that people will remember forever."

Mr Cook has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and also does private and corporate events. But he takes a special pride in wowing couples on their big day.

He added: “Weddings have always been my favourite events to perform at. Sometimes wedding guests don’t know each other and are a little reluctant to join in the celebrations.

"I make sure everyone is ready to party.”

What was once a favourite with kids' birthday parties has now become increasingly popular as a choice of wedding entertainment, thanks to TV magicians such as Derren Brown and Dynamo.

"It's a real ice-breaker and gets the party going," said Mr Cook.

"What I do at weddings is a lot of close-up magic, mix-and-match stuff and a lot of tricks with borrowed things like phones, watches and wallets.

"It's about bringing everyone together and making it a really fun experience.

"I always think magic is better if it's organic rather than on a stage, half-a-mile away."

Mr Cook performs much of his magic across the Lake District and the North West, as well as regularly performing in Edinburgh, the Scottish borders, Manchester, Leeds and London.

He is now busy preparing for his annual show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and local fans can expect previews in Ulverston and Kendal in the coming months.

As well as being crowned the UK’s best Wedding Magician, Mr Cook was also awarded the Highly Commended prize in the Wedding Entertainment Supplier of the Year category.

Bridebook is a free online wedding planner and mobile app which now helps one in eight UK brides to plan their big day.

The Bridebook awards are voted on by the general public, then the winners are chosen from the shortlist by a panel of experts.

There were more than 70,000 entrants to the competition and more than 180,000 votes were cast to choose the best wedding venues, photographers, entertainers and providers.

Hamish Shephard, founder and chief executive of Bridebook said: "The Bridebook Wedding Awards recognise the cream of the crop when it comes to venues and suppliers.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for local wedding businesses across the nation to gain the recognition and merit they deserve for their commitment and exemplary service to their couples, both past and present."