This question has been asked and answered so many times before, some already know what they want for their big day. Perhaps, it is my turn to give my philosophy on this matter. We could categorize the requirements in choosing a wedding photographer as such:
1. Years in the business - This defines the experience and overall mastery in documenting a wedding. Full utilization of equipments, confidence to relate with various characters in the event, well-versed and familiar with event/venue protocol and ability to troubleshoot in almost all circumstances is highly expected. Well developed workflow system. Efficiency and grade are also a direct result of this.
2. Shooting style - Empahsizes the distinction of the quality of shots produced in the wedding day and in the manner it was taken. (e.g. formals, candids, fun and/or elegance, dark or bright colorful images. Balance of imagery like illustration of the couple, family, bridal party, guests, details, etc...) Favorite shots of the photographer and interpretation of subjects are revealed as well. One thing you could also find out if the photographer performs as a director or silently captures during the event as a consideration for selecting.
3. Post production - Quality of album offered, selection of artistic and appropriate images, layout style and skill in enhancing digital files (presentation of the photographs).
4. Reputation - Valid feedback relevant to the overall output of the photographer and final album from other clients are essential and vital information that would be crucial in the final decision in selecting a photographer. As a standard, the photographer should be true to every word he exemplifies. Is he proper in his' ways, manner of speech and appearance that would be appropriate for the wedding day? I believe this is not exempted and is partly a reflection of professionalism and related to refinement as a standard.
5. Rates - This is regarded as the most important for some people. Every photographer has his' own price instilled, different skill levels, equipment used and costs in production define the cost of investment for the couples.
With all of these factors to be taken into consideration, you will pretty much find yourself pointing at the direction that best suits your wedding photography requirement. As a philosophy in mind, I believe in the saying "You get what you pay for." But one must be careful in following this since it could not always be applicable in some cases. One must be mindful also that if one settles for less it is not always the best choice since the chances of it not meeting your expectation/s increases and in this "once in a lifetime" event you only got one shot at this.
Wedding photos would probably be the greatest photos you would ever have in your lifetime unless you are a cover girl or commercial model. A bride will forever look her best in her flourishing white gown and complementing bouquet of florals. Thus, this would also be your greatest investment in photography. Invest wisely, enough that it would satisfy and not frustrate you. I can hardly wait to get married, don't you?