Horror story alert: back in the 80's I was making good money doing architectural photography as well as some portraiture on the side. I was newly married and wanted to try and supplement my income by adding wedding photog to my resume. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing from the "cattle herding" that would ensue. First: I did not know that consulting with the couple would be important and having a rock solid idea of what prices to charge. Second: I felt comfortable enough with my photographic skills that I could handle just about any situation that should confront me, wrong. Third and most important, dealing with a large group of people that alto well meaning we're non the less simply mead long and trying to control everything. And then there are the drunks who jump I front of almost every shot. Needless to say, underexposed, out of focus, off kilter and total bedlam would be some of the best descriptions of the brides wedding album. Find a well seasoned pro that would be willing to take you under their wing and second shoot for a few years before you jump into it with bothe feet.
Then, on Monday, I have to download files, start editing, dealing with family who want to see everything on a website by noon on Monday after the wedding, designing an album, and on and on and on. Most brides now have completely unrealistic ideas of budget due to the endless parade of weekend photographers who think they can charge $1000 for a little pocket money, not realizing that by the time they finish and pay all their cost of sales, they are making McDonald's money.
My life is so much happier without weddings.
Now, when I shoot for friends and families, they pay me a nice, but reduced rate, and they get a box of proofs with no retouching and a DVD with all the high res files. I would do the same for film. And, yes, there are insane lawsuits over wedding photography. You really need indemnity insurance.
I do shoot wedding photography and I have something I can say about this topic as well, but really, why do people offer advice to someone who asked a question one and a half years ago, and was adequately answered back then? Isn't Arjuna a reasonably competent wedding photographer by now if all the advice was read and worked hard on?
I never check the dates on threads, I saw it pop up and since I have had experience in this arena I put my two cents in. Sometimes these threads have a tendency to crawl back into the social conscience for some odd reason.
I have shot entire weddings between 35 and 85. I'd say you have plenty.
The choice of lenses is two fold. 1 is artistic, 2 is technical.
1 Your eye/style, what do you like shooting?
When you sell a wedding package you should be able to do enough show and tell for the client to understand what they will get from you.
You need to understand what you can do and what you are willing to provide before you can explain that to a client. That understanding allows both you and the client to make good decisions.
For example, for wedding work, I won't do any back end work as I might for a portrait sitting. All my back end work is hired out for weddings, no exceptions.
2 Your access, where do you need to be and will the bride let you get there?
This is a compromise, if you really need to be at both the font and back of the church at nearly the same time you either need long lenses or the ability to move. I prefer and negotiate for the latter myself.
Your answers to these questions will come with experience and experimentation.
And the OP only had one post since.
Do you think that's because he was discouraged enough or he just didn't want to hear any of that stuff and wanted to do it anyway?
I know I didn't want to hear that stuff when I started.