Sounds like a loaded question, right?! and I maybe walking on the wild photography side by attempting to answer it but I am going to give it a shot!
I don't want to say that you get what you pay for, that's a tired line rolled out to convince couples to possibly pay for something that they cannot afford, weddings are an expensive business so don't be bullied into spending on a photographer out of fear and bully boy sales tactics.
I am guessing that you are asking yourself the how much should we pay question right now, you may have had a wedding argument or two about budgets and photographers. I am fairly confident that every person you have asked has given you a different answer ranging from don't pay anything to get your friends to do it to allocate at least 10% of your wedding budget to photography and someone unwise once said;
The simple answer should be the lowest price you can get for the quality you are after. Simple
Okay, so that's not a lot of help!
There are 4 types of wedding photography price brackets: budget, moderate, upscale and luxury and your wedding mission is to work out which category you fit into and then find a photographer within your budget. That's not to say you can't ask a photographer who falls out of your budget to photograph your day but there are ways to ask for a discount without coming across rude and unappreciative (more on this next week)
If you don't value photography and I don't mean that as a negative, some people are genuinely not too fussed about wedding photos, and that's okay and/or you are not too fussed if your photos are the best quality going around then don't hire a professional, you'll regret spending money on a photographer if you do. Hire a university photography undergraduate or postgraduate photography student. Never, ever hire a mate with a camera who has a willingness to work for a free meal and a beer. I don't suggest doing this. People routinely underestimate the skill set and talent to pull off shooting a wedding. Your wedding day is not the time to put your trust in an amateur. Avoid places like Gumtree, you want at least someone with talent. I highly recommend undergraduate photography students from London South Bank University and Goldsmiths University in London. These two universities produce awesome photographic undergrad students.
It's true, you don't even need a student. You can provide cameras, and Polaroids and do it yourself photo booths and there is nothing wrong with that either, in fact I adore the authentic rawness that comes with the nostalgia attached to 35mm film and Polaroids. This is not for everyone though
Wedding publications like Wedding Ideas magazine will tell you to spend £1000 for you wedding photographer but they would-wouldn't they? As that's the average their advertisers sell their services for.
This is no right or wrong answer about how much you should spend on wedding photography other than spending what you think is right, fair and meets your budgetary requirements. Below is why I charge what I do.