So how do brides distinguish the real pros from the rest? One way is to ask every photographer you meet with the same set of questions and then compare the answers. This way you have a base from which to compare them beyond just how much they charge for wedding photography.
Print this out. Take notes. And hopefully this will help distinguish the true contenders to be your wedding photographer:
-How would you describe your style of photography?
-How many weddings have you photographed?
-Why did you become a wedding photographer? (HINT: If they only say it's because they love photography, well, duh! This answer should be more about providing you a service than about them)
-Do I sign a contract to hire you as a photographer? (HINT: Yes, yes, yes! Always work with a photographer with a contract that spells out the whole transaction)
-What are you favorite wedding images to shoot?
-How would you approach photographing a venue like the one I've chosen? (HINT: Not all venues are made the same. A true experienced professional knows how to answer this without hesitation)
-How experienced are your assistants and second shooters?
-What kind of equipment do you use (and do you have backups)?
-What's your backup plan if you get sick?
-What will you and your photography team wear on the wedding day?
-What time will you arrive at the venue and how long will you stay?
-What if I want you to stay longer than we've scheduled?
-What kind of insurance do you have? (HINT: There should be two kinds. One that covers the photographer's equipment and the other that covers liability and business. This is fundamental)
-How soon after my wedding can I expect to see my images?
-What guidelines and restrictions are in place if I share my images online at places like Facebook and Instagram?