I placed an ad on Craigslist for a wedding photographer and what we needed (not wanted). I asked for quotes and let them we didn't have $1,000's to spend on a photographer. We agreed that they could use our photos to establish or enlarge their portfolios. We had probably 100s answer our ad within a few days! I was astonished by the results! We did settle on a husband and wife team for under $500! This saved us $1000s that we didn't have to spend. Classifieds would work, too.
Ok, you are not that brave or outgoing. Read ads for photographers that are looking to branch out and include weddings or are recent graduates. These people are new to being professional but have taken many other photos in their lifetime (many needed for a degree, too). Ask for samples. Maybe do an engagement session. Samples of their work is must! And make sure they have back up equipment! You never know what could happen.
Another thing to try is to ask a family member that likes photography and has been doing it as a hobby for years. Or call a local college and ask a professor to recommend one of their students. Take a look at his/her samples of work. Either way, you should pay these people and let them use your photos for their portfolios. That is only fair.
Many professionals offer different packages. They usually offer a pay per hour, also, but you must ask. Skip paying them to take photos of you getting ready. You can keep a camera or two handy and have family or friends take these photos. This could save you a few $100 or more.
Any way that you decide to go, make sure you let your photographer know what shots are most important to you (aging relative, children, etc) and sign a contract before your big day. This way you are guaranteed some assurance of what you are getting. Good luck & smile pretty!
New posts on makeup & hairstyles coming soon!