Whether it be wedding, portrait, or family photography, if your going spend money on it, spent it wisely. I am always hearing stories of regret from people, especially brides, that wish they didn't skimp on a photographer. A good photographer should have a good portfolio.
I completely understand that some couples have small budgets and that is actually pretty normal these days. Ask to see their portfolio. The fact is if you don't care about the quality of the photography than don't waste your money on it. You are probably better off at this point in buying a cheap entry level camera and having a friend take the shots. But if you are interested in great photography than focus a proper amount of your budget into hire a true professional photographer, you won't regret it, I promise!
Now that you are ready to work with your top choice for a photographer you should sit down with them and talk about your expectations. I like to set up several meetings before a wedding and manage your expectations. We'll talk about setting up your engagement shoot, (if you choose one, which I recommend) planning your timeline as well what type of album and wall art would look great in your home. Believe it or not your photographer should be the one vendor you truly connect with. They are the person that will be capturing who you truly are and making your memories look amazing! You'll be able to see this with a online portfolio.
My favorite part of photography is making people feel great when they see a photograph of them I took. It's not about taking the shot and saying "good enough". It's about making the person feel amazing about themselves. Believe or not a lot people don't like seeing themselves in a photo, me included. So a great photographer should be able to make you say I love the way I look in that photo. After all you're not hiring a photographer to make you look bad but if you hire the wrong one you look bad. Even if you're the most beautiful person in the world.