Anyone shooting a wedding for the first time should really have some experience behind them first, owning some gear doesn't really qualify you to do a good service to a couple. Most of the advise here is not going to help. Go out there and shoot some events. Learn what works. Even better, shoot with a professional and learn firsthand how to approach things. It's funny how many posts like this end up on various forum sites. What you need to shoot a wedding isn't gear, it's skill and knowing how your gear works in various situations, and even more - what are you capturing - what many call the best day of their life. If you don't know how to do it, should you?
I shot my first wedding with my wife for free, because the couple didn't have a budget for photography. We did a good job considering we were new to weddings, but we were also far out of our depth. You really need to be a second shooter to get some experience.
i agree and disagree with this for various reasons. Where I agree - yes, shooting more makes a difference, learning ,putting yourswelf in hard lighting situations --- all that helps gain experience, with experience comes more comfort, then you can really start working on technique. But as far as second shooting, this is hit or miss. While yes, you always learn a thing or 2, it really depends on the primary shooter. Some primary shooters are very comfortable with themselves and their business and have no issues with teaching. But many see you as a threat and treat you as such. One big issue is files. Yes, how you shoot and what you shoot at a wedding is important, but, you need to have some time in PP on those shots to ever consider yourself a primary shooter. Some primary shooters can be freaky with that, and I get that, they are hiring you to work for them, they aren't hiring you to train you to go out on your own. Sometimes the primary shooter won't even let you come with on the formal shots (for me and my learning, setting up shots like that, guiding people, that's more than just shooting and does require learning!) - the good old, why don't you just get candid shots from coctail hour while I handle the formals.
Not every primary shooter is like this --- and I aqm not saying don't second shooter, but, be careful choosing who you work with and if the intention is to learn - then try shooting with a few. Seeing different techniques does help a lot. And more times than not, if you second shoot you get to see some larger scale productions which is valuable learning!!!
As to the whole, don't ever take on a wedding with no experience thing. We all gotta start somewhere. If you are honest with the client and charge them accordingly to your skill level, this shouldn't be a problem I think. (remember, some primary shooters don't take on totally green second shooters, or if they do, have fun earning $50 on the day)