london wedding photographer top tips

Are you looking for a London wedding photographer or just hoping to find tips about how to plan your wedding? Either way, you came to the right place. I’ve got lots of wedding planning tips to share, some tricks to help you save time, and a few local insider secrets about London too!

As a London and destination wedding photographer, I’ve captured weddings around the world. I’ve listened to my clients talk about their wedding planning struggles and helped them find solutions. Oh, and I’ve also experienced planning my own wedding during a worldwide pandemic. But on a positive note, it gave me a lot of insight into planning a wedding and all the stress that comes with it.

If you’re reading this, then I’m guessing you recently just got engaged. Congratulations! I hope you’re making the most of this special time. My most important advice? Enjoy the moment, take it all in, and don’t go straight to wedding planning. Here are my top tips for you as you go through one of the most exciting but challenging phases of your life – wedding planning!

All white modern but timeless wedding. white millia london tulle gown - photo by Cristina Ilao; contact hello@cristinailao.com to enquire about your wedding


Enjoy your engagement.

The period between your engagement and the start of your wedding planning is probably the best time. You’re still on a high. You can’t stop looking at your new sparkly ring. And you don’t have anything on your wedding planning to-do list yet. So, drink it all in! And while you’re at it, let me tell you a secret (or three because I’m feeling generous).

Here are three things you need to do right after you get engaged. (1) Get ring insurance as soon as possible. I promise you, this will give you peace of mind so you can wear your new sparkler without worrying about it slipping from your finger, losing a precious stone, or getting robbed. (2) Get your ring sized and cleaned. You can go for a temporary solution by buying a ring guard. Or get a professional to permanently resize it. Either way, your new ring will look great if it fits your finger perfectly. (3) Consider a pre-wedding shoot. Isn’t there a better way to announce your engagement than a beautiful set of photos of you and your new fiance?

Read more: Engaged? Here are 3 Things You Need to Do

Breathe in, breathe out.

Wedding planning can be a real relationship test. It can get stressful mentally, financially, and physically. And it can also cause a lot of disagreements between you and your other half. The best trick to keep your sanity? Step away from your wedding planning bubble occasionally. Then come back later feeling refreshed and energised to start again.

Give yourself a break and practice mindfulness during wedding planning to prevent overwhelm. Choose a day or two when you can take a break. Don’t talk about it at all. Relieve yourself from all unnecessary pressures. Not sure how? Let me share with you my top tips on how to practice well-being while planning your wedding.

Read more: Wedding Planning Well-being Tips


Decide if you need help.

You might not realise immediately that wedding planning can be overwhelming and at times, stressful. After all the engagement excitement is over, there’s quite a lot to do before your big day. Planning a wedding takes a lot out of you. And it can also be very time-consuming if you have a full-time job to think about. Of course, my advice is to get an amazing wedding planner. A seasoned wedding planner is a real lifesaver and will take away a lot of your stress. These days, wedding planners have become a necessity and not just a luxury.

I can’t tell you enough how planners can make your wedding planning and your wedding day a breeze. But if you’re still undecided, then keep reading. In this blog post, I talk about how to figure out if you need a wedding planner, the job of a wedding planner, the different types of wedding planners, and how to find a great one.

Read more: The Job of a Wedding Planner

Don’t head straight to Pinterest.

Wedding planning isn’t for the faint-hearted. This goes for both intimate and grand weddings. So, if you’re keen on planning your own wedding, you’re going to need some guidance and a lot of help. Without a wedding planner to guide and assist you, things can quickly get overwhelming and stressful. And if you’ve not had any chance to plan a wedding before, you might not even know where to start.

Here’s some friendly advice: Don’t just blindly head straight to Pinterest. And if you want to know where to start, read my ultimate wedding planning guide. It’s full of tips and tricks from your favourite London wedding photographer (Ahem!) to help you get started on your planning the beautiful wedding of your (Pinterest) dreams.

FREE DOWNLOAD: The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Beautiful Wedding

Flower filled London Spring wedding fine art bridal portrait wedding photography faqs - Photo by Cristina Ilao


Consider having an intimate wedding.

Many couples chose to have an intimate wedding since 2020. Some due to personal preference and some due to government and legal restrictions. Who could forget the year that was? Even before 2020 happened, I was honestly already a big fan of intimate weddings. To me, they’re so much nicer, more heartfelt, and more enjoyable. Imagine getting married to your other half with only your closest family and friends around. No pressure to host people you’ve not seen in years. And lots of time to relish the important moments with the ones who matter most.

Have I convinced you yet to have an intimate wedding? Read this blog post to find out why having an intimate wedding might just be the best wedding planning decision you’ll ever have. Or better yet, have a look at this romantic Ardington House micro wedding for inspiration.

Read more: All About Your Intimate Wedding

Read more: Ardington House Summer Micro Wedding

Follow the road less traveled.

Spring and summer are the most popular seasons when it comes to weddings. Don’t you want to get married on a warm summer day with the sun shining on you as you walk down the aisle? I can’t blame you. But because spring and summer are so popular, they’re also the most difficult seasons to find good wedding suppliers who still have availability.

It’s so much easier to find a wedding supplier during the slow season (autumn and winter) than in the peak season. And also, don’t underestimate how beautiful winter weddings can be. And autumn? It has its own charm. Rich autumnal colours and that crisp autumn air give the perfect ambiance for a beautiful wedding. Take a look at this autumn wedding in the middle of the English countryside and I’m sure you’ll agree.

Read more: English Countryside Autumn Wedding

Read more: Autumn Wedding Ideas You’ll Want to Try


Book your wedding venue early.

Wedding venues are usually the priority on most couples’ checklists when planning their wedding (next to the wedding date). So be inquisitive but decisive when it comes to choosing one. Most popular wedding venues get booked years in advance so don’t delay if you don’t want to feel disappointed.

While you’re here, I have linked below some of my detailed guides to help narrow down your list. I’ve also included some of my favourite wedding venues. You’re welcome!


All The Questions You Need to Ask Your Wedding Venue

The Best Cotswolds Wedding Venues

Euridge Manor Wedding Venue Guide

Hedsor House Wedding Venue Guide

Choose your suppliers wisely.

I’m sure you’ve asked a few questions in relation to your wedding planning budget. What is a reasonable price for this wedding supplier? How much does a wedding photographer cost? How much wedding stationery do I really need? How much should I budget for my wedding dress or wedding shoes? Is this supplier charging me a fair price?

It’s good to stay within your financial means. But when choosing your wedding suppliers, don’t base your decisions entirely on their price. Set criteria based on what’s most important to you. Is it the level of quality of the service or the product being offered? How about the overall customer experience? And have you considered the wedding supplier’s personality? Or is it all of those factors combined? Wedding suppliers base their pricing on several factors. It takes into consideration the supplier’s expertise, years of experience, operating costs, location, proximity to your wedding venue, etc.

Remember that going for a cheaper supplier may not necessarily save you on costs if you account for what you’re giving up. But if I have one piece of advice to give you about choosing your wedding suppliers, it’s this. Hire a professional. Don’t entrust your wedding to someone who’s just practicing or figuring things out. It’s going to be one of the most important days of your life so leave it only in the hands of someone who know what they’re doing.

Choose a (london or destination) wedding photographer with the personality you like.

Your wedding photographer (and videographer!) will be with you throughout your wedding day. Make sure you choose someone who’s fun to be around. Find someone whose personality makes you comfortable and relaxed. Remember, you can wear the fanciest wedding dress or have the most glamorous hair and make-up. But if you don’t feel comfortable in front of the one taking your photos (or videos), you’re not going to look or feel great.

Read more: How To Choose Your Wedding Photographer

groom and bride kissing at Beauport beach in Jersey CHannel Islands; Jersey pre wedding engagement anniversary photo session at Beauport Beach near St Brelade's Bay in Jersey Channel Islands. bride wearing a white flowy loose mr self portrait midi dress, loose natural curled hairstyle, neutral fresh makeup; groom wearing a pale pink longsleeves buttoned shirt and white trousers; pastel pink bouquet of David Austin roses, dried ruscus and astilbe - Photo by UK based Filipina wedding photographer Cristina Ilao


Book an engagement session.

It’s not only a chance to flaunt your style and have photos that mark a relationship milestone. More importantly, it’s a chance to get to know your wedding photographer before the big day. If you think you might feel nervous or conscious being photographed by a professional, then think of it as your practice and time to bond with your photographer.

Looking for a London pre-wedding inspiration captured by a professional photographer? Look no further. Here’s one of my favourite engagement sessions in Central London. And while you’re here, how about a little shameless plug? Get in touch if you fancy an engagement session in London or if you’re looking for a London wedding photographer ;)

Read more: Somerset House Engagement Photo Session

Read more: Jersey Wedding Anniversary at Beauport Beach

Read more: Edinburgh Royal Mile Engagement Session

Eat cake.

Every celebration needs a cake (well for me, at least!). Choosing your wedding cake is probably the most fun wedding planning decision you’ll both make. No matter what you prefer, make sure you book a cake tasting session to choose your favourite flavours. But if you can’t make it to a tasting session, another option is to ask your cake designer for a cake sample or cake tasting box.

I’d love to share with you my favourite wedding cake ideas. From simple one-tier beauties to grand cake installations, you’re in for a treat. Have a read and thank me later!

Read more: Wedding Cake Ideas for Every Season

Don’t forget to have fun.

Don’t limit your bridal shower to a drinking party. Of course, they can be if you’re into that kind of party. But what if you don’t enjoy drinking? What if not everyone in your bridal party likes alcohol? There are many other classy ways you can celebrate.

Think of a fancy English afternoon tea with your girls. How about a luxury dessert experience or a fun floristry workshop? There are so many options to choose from, you just have to use your creativity and imagination to come up with a fun idea. I’ve listed a few ideas in this blog post if you’re not sure what options are available.

Read more: Bridal Shower Ideas for the Classy Bride-to-be


Give yourself enough time.

Actually, give yourself lots of time especially if you’re planning a destination wedding. Include lots of buffer time. Do this no matter how quickly you think you’ll get things done. That’s if you want a stress-free and smooth wedding planning process. Trust me, something always comes up during the wedding planning (and even on your wedding day). “Lots of time” can mean different things to different people. It could be as short as a month to some couples or as long as three years to other couples. But it’s mostly dependent on the size and complexity of your wedding. Will your wedding be a big one? Do you want an intimate wedding with guests flying from all over the world? How about a destination wedding in the Caribbean?

If you do decide to have a destination wedding, buckle up. Destination wedding planning will be more challenging to manage. So start planning it months or even years before the big day. Don’t underestimate how long things will take to happen. Remember this especially if you have a full-time job that keeps you occupied most of the week. Is a destination wedding right for you and do you understand what you’re in for? Let me break it down for you in this tell-all blog post.

Read more: Your Destination Wedding Guide

Read more: Ardington House Summer Micro Wedding

Festive Christmas holiday winter themed fine art wedding - photo by Cristina Ilao

Don’t leave your hair to the last minute.

Did you know that your hairstyle can make or break your bridal look? Your crowning glory can give you a stylish and polished look to complement your natural bridal glow. So don’t leave your hair and make-up plans to the last minute. Decide what look you’re going for and maybe have your hair and make-up trial on your final dress fitting. That way, you’ll have a good idea of what you’ll look like when you walk down the aisle. Not sure where to start? I’ve listed here some of the best wedding hairstyles to choose from.

Read more: Wedding Hairstyles for Every Bride


Experience London like a local.

I won’t be a good London wedding photographer if I don’t end this list with my top places to go in London. So hear me out if you’re planning a destination wedding in the UK and visiting London as part of your trip. Experience London just like a local. Skip the busy tourist line and see what London really is all about. Here’s my list of the best things to do in one of my favourite cities.  

Read more: Best things to do in London

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