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Last Minute Wedding Photography

For Those with Less Time

Last-Minute Wedding Photographer Needed? Don’t Panic!

(Shh! Don’t tell everyone, but there’s a short-notice discount offered further down the page).

Groom spinning bride around and bride laughing

This wedding couple booked me with only a month to go…  This happy portrait shows that weddings arranged at the last minute are often the most relaxed.

A newly engaged couple’s average time to book their wedding photographer is around ten months to a year and a half in advance.

The shortest notice I’ve ever had to prepare for shooting a wedding was just two days!  I didn’t mind this at all.

I love short-notice bookings as they fit in nicely around other things.  If I am not free, I have some good and reliable photographer friends I can recommend.

My late wedding bookings are often fun and relaxed (see all the photos on this page and throughout my site!).

Guest congratulating bride and groom and their little boy at last-minute wedding in Westminster, London

Holly and Thomas’ wedding was so last-minute that they could only invite their witnesses. But it was a fun couple of hours… (NB: the little boy pictured was their son, not a witness!)

Read More>> Late Weddings are Often Short-Day Weddings Too – I Cater for Those Here!

Groom and Best Man Hugging at Pembroke Lodge Wedding

I took one of my favourite wedding portraits at Pembroke Lodge: The best man was also the groom’s brother, and after his speech, they were both overcome with emotion as their mother looked on…

Reasons Why You Could Need to Book a Wedding Photographer at Short Notice

There are various reasons why engaged couples leave finding their wedding photographer until the last minute:

It could be that they never really intended to have a professional photographer document their wedding in the first place.

Maybe a relative or friend persuaded them that they might regret not doing so if they didn’t book someone.  I’ve heard of this situation many times.

Groom Waiting Nervously in Rossetti Room, Chelsea as Bride Enters with Father

Register Offices are used for couples to book their ceremony at the last moment. However, some restrict how soon couples can book them before the day – usually between one and three months.

Or I’m sure some people hold out until the eleventh hour hoping to get a late notice discount, which often works (see my offer further down the page for proof!)

However, it’s a dangerous strategy, especially in the summer wedding season: the best photographers book months, even years in advance.

Short Notice Wedding in South London - Groom with Baby Placing Ring on Bride's Finger

Late bookings often mean the couple is relaxed about their day, which is great for a photographer as they won’t mind me getting up close for intimate yet fun shots like this one.

Timing and Events Beyond the Couple’s Control

The time of year plays a big part, too.

The months from about May until September are high wedding season, and the various vendors’ time (and cost) is at a premium.  Good wedding photographers take bookings quickly during these months.

Couples having a more low-key wedding may well opt for an out-of-season wedding celebration, helping keep costs down and avoiding the rush for the best venues and photographers.

Bride and groom kiss on the steps of Southwark Register Office

Some couples get engaged and see no reason to wait to get married. On the contrary, they want their wedding as soon as possible, and the short notice wedding is unavoidable.

Having a last-minute wedding can prove beneficial as there’s less time to stress about the small details and the possibility of the late notice discounts mentioned above.

Couple laughing outside St Luke's Church in Chelsea

This photo is what my wedding photography is all about. Couples having fun and getting the most out of every moment.

Our Wedding Photographer Cancelled at the Last Minute

The need to book a photographer late in the day may not be down to the couple, but the photographer they had previously booked has sadly let them down.

I don’t want to dwell on this negative here, but if this has happened to you or you are interested in how to proceed should it happen, there is a section devoted to this at the bottom.

Bride laughing out loud with groom in front of wooden fireplace at Old Marylebone Town Hall

Another laughing shot: I love it when couples aren’t afraid to show their true feelings and expressions of happiness.

Late Booking Tips and Ideas.

Research and Reach Out

If you find yourself in the position of needing a wedding photographer at short notice, do your research and then phone one – or several.

Most photographers are only too happy to take last-minute work if they are still available. As a result, they sometimes receive last-minute cancellations also.

Even though your wedding may be short notice and might seem like a rush, don’t skimp on your research. Instead, find time to chat with or meet your photographer just as you would if you had months to go.

If you can’t schedule a meeting, a phone call will suffice.  The important thing is that you feel comfortable with your chosen photographer.  Personalities do play a big part, and appreciating their vision and style helps, too.

Testimonials and reviews can also be reassuring that you’re making the right choice, and many are on my photography reviews page. All the couples listed are happy to be contacted by you.  Just ask me for their contact details.

Bride leaving taxi in rain outside Chelsea Old Town Hall with father holding unbrella

Although it looked like Debbie was late, she was keen to get under the umbrella and out of the rain. Of course, rain happens at weddings, but it hasn’t spoilt one of mine yet!

There’s No Substitute for a Professional

Some couples decide quite late on whether they even need a photographer.  They may feel they don’t have the budget or that it’s not essential.  They may recruit a relative or friend with a decent camera to get the shots.

My advice is DON’T!

A dedicated wedding photographer knows what to look for and how to take images that truly capture the best moments of your day.  The money might seem a lot now, but your photographs will last a lifetime.

If you can’t afford a photographer, tell them your budget.  There might be room for compromise, especially when booking late.

Bride and groom laughing between purple wedding flower display at Chelsea Old Town Hall

Charles’ father booked me for his wedding to Lily. Unfortunately, their photographer had let them down very close to their wedding day.

Recommended Venue>> Woolwich Town Hall Caters for Late Wedding Bookings

And now for my short-notice wedding photography discount…

First Kiss at Short Notice Wedding

Last-Minute Wedding Photography 2024 – 10% Discount

If you book me with six weeks or less to go, I will give you a full 10% off my whole-day website wedding prices.

Please mention this offer at the time of booking.  It cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount.

Guests Toasting Bride and Groom at Wedding Breakfast Speeches

What better reason for your toast than having your last-minute wedding go without a hitch? There are many professionals to help if things are running a little late with your day’s planning.

What Should I Do if a Wedding Photographer Has Cancelled on Me?

(Please don’t worry – these situations are rare, and most of us are reputable pros!)

Unfortunately, it is a sad fact that having to book your photographer late in the day may not necessarily be your fault.

I have been photographing weddings in London, Cardiff, Newport, Bristol and South Wales for around ten years and (touch wood!) have never missed a wedding, been late or had cause to cancel.

Most wedding photographers are professional, hard-working and conscientious!

However, there are those unscrupulous wedding photographers who will let people down. I read on wedding forums all the time of couples seeking advice about what to do when their photographer pulls out with little or no reason. Even worse is when they stop replying to your calls and emails.

My feeling about all this is a positive one: It’s better to have found out now rather than after your day when it will quickly become apparent from sub-standard results that your photographer wasn’t up to the job in the first place.

Either that or you could be keen to see your beautiful wedding photos, only to find that they become non-responsive.

I hear occasional ‘horror’ stories from guests at weddings that they had to wait months for their wedding photographer to show them any of their images, if any at all.  The earlier you know about possible problems, the easier they are to deal with and rectify.

But just a word of caution here:  Even today, people are sometimes non-contactable for a while for genuine and minor reasons.

Before you panic, check that they haven’t just gone on holiday for a couple of weeks and forgotten to change their answering machine message or auto-reply.

The reason may be entirely innocent!

Further Advice>> Consumer Organisation ‘Which?’ Offers Some Good Tips on Handling Supplier Cancellations.

Short Notice Wedding in Church - Signing

Church weddings may also be short notice for photographers, sometimes due to the couple’s previously booked photographer letting them down at the last minute.

5 Tips if Your Wedding Photographer Suddenly Becomes Elusive or Pulls Out…

  • Keep Records: Keep track of any emails you send, responses you get, statements of monies paid out and notes of phone calls (even when you have tried but had no answer).  These may prove invaluable if you need to go down the unfortunate route of taking your photographer to court for compensation and recoup fees.
  • Find Out Why?:  If they let you know they can’t make it, find out why. For example, people get ill and have family traumas (they may put down pulling out for ‘personal reasons’).  Try to find out the real reason before deciding what action to take.
  • On Contracts…:  Hopefully, you read and signed a contract before booking and can still lay your hands on it. Re-read it and check what the cancellation terms are.  What happens if they are unable to fulfil their contractual obligations?  If a wedding photographer is unreliable, they are unlikely to provide a contract, or they will weigh the terms in their favour. If this is the case, all is not lost. Contracts can be overturned in court if deemed to be unfair.
  • If Alarm Bells Start to Ring…: You may have a gut feeling about things that don’t seem right. The unscrupulous wedding photographer will undoubtedly seem helpful and responsive before your booking. However, if they seem to change after you have settled their fees, try to arrange to meet them. Talk to them about your concerns.  If you are not satisfied, decide what route to go down regarding a possible cancellation.  It is far better to rectify things before your wedding day than wait for potential disappointment and stress when it’s too late.
  • Be Persistent: Don’t give up! If they don’t answer your emails or return your phone calls, try and try again.  And make notes, which will let them know you are serious and unwilling to let them get away with poor treatment (and quite possibly your money!)  It will also carry weight if you decide to take it further later.

It Would be Great to Hear From You...
Contact Me to Discuss Your Late Wedding Photography Booking!

Email me, fill in the form below or phone 07947 613070 any time to discuss and book your big day!!

Bride Signing Register in Mayor's Parlour at Islington Town Hall Wedding

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Wedding Photographer in London, Bristol & Cardiff

Guy Milnes Photography is based between London and Cardiff, covering South Wales, Bristol, London and the home counties.
He has been a professional photographer since 2008 and loves to capture the wedding day's atmosphere as it unfolds naturally.


Preferred Contact Number:
07947 613070


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Guy Milnes Photography
79 Van Road
CF83 1LA


26 Hermon Hill



E11 2AP

02920 869973

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