I hear all the time, "Why is wedding photography so expensive?" or "We are just going to have a friend who has a camera shoot our wedding as a favor."
One of my favorite quotes goes like this: "If you think hiring a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur."
Professional photographers are expensive for a reason. Wedding photography is NOT easy. It's a lot of work to prepare for, to do, and to work on the back side. Any given 8 hour wedding really entails at least 40 man hours of work. from advertising, to book keeping, to editing the photos and even meeting with the clients and scouting out locations. On top of that there are equipment costs, insurance, taxes, liability, transportation. etc.. If you want a professional(and you really do) unfortunately you need to pay for one.
Your photos will be the only thing that's left and to look at for the rest of your life.
Please understand, we don't just come and shoot your wedding day, we put a lot of work into it, at least professional photographers, and photographers who are dedicated to provide quality service and quality work.
Consider hours of editing your images, consultations, driving to locations and scouting venues, designing albums, plus equipment, and everything else.
A lot of photographers (including myself) will work with you, depending on your budget you can get certain things and eliminate others.
Food for thought:
"Cheap is not always good, and good doesn't come cheap!"