That's not much of a way to run a business.
It wasn't too hard to figure out what reasonable rates were either. Labs that do wedding processing as a normal thing all have price sheets. I took these to heart, I figure if I can't get what they charge or more on an assembly line that I can't do it profitably as custom work.
As you suggest though this is a very limited market.
There is a middle market too that I think can support bread and butter pros, solid work for reasonable pay but it's limited too. This market feels the pressure from the aspirational shooters but my guess is just at the lower end.
I'd suggest that the challenge in breaking into these markets is driven more by marketing and sales than technique. I'm not discounting photographic skill here, I'm just saying that that's maybe 10-20% of the job required to succeed.