I have to say that photography is pretty essential to wedding planning because you are going to want to have amazing pictures to capture your big day and remember it for years to come.
Since photography is so important, I'll start with some tips to to help you find an amazing photographer at a great price. This is one area that you really don't want to skimp on and just have a family member or friend do (unless they are a professional photographer). I'm not saying you can't get good photos done by a hobbyist or amateur, but for your wedding you really don't want to take any chances with the quality of your photography. If you are lucky enough to live in a metropolitan area or somewhere with a local university, my first recommendation is to try and find a "young professional" photographer. This is going to be someone that is either still a student, or very new in the field, but still has had proper training and education in photography. You can usually get a good price from these young professionals because they don't have years of experience and are often are still trying to build their portfolios. Try using social media or online advertising to search for photographers, or post a notice in the art building of your local university.
"Experienced" professional photographers often charge $1000+ for wedding packages, but if you go with a young professional you will probably pay around half that depending on how many hours they will be photographing. Similarly, you can use social media or other platforms to find an experienced "hobbyist" to act as photographer. Ideally, this person will have been photographing weddings and events as a hobby for many years, but usually doesn't have the classroom training of a professional. If you choose either a young professional or an experienced hobbyist, make sure you check out their portfolio and previous work to ensure that you will be getting a good end product. Also, talk to them at length to get a good idea of their style and what ideas they have/will they work with your ideas. You might find a good, low cost photographer who has a lot of technical skill but can only shoot dated and cliched poses.
For some examples of what to look for in a good young professional, check out the following links:
Elysian Fields Photography- NW OHIO
Polyrhythm Photography- Dayton/Cinci Area
Additionally, you may want to look into hiring a videographer to cover the ceremony and/or the early parts of the reception, ie: first dance, cake cutting, father daughter dance, bouquet toss, etc...
I only suggest this because I do regret not hiring a videographer because honestly, I don't remember a lot of my wedding day. I was nervous and the whole day went by so fast that it is a blur in my mind.
Sorry for the lack of pictures in this post, but check out the links for some awesome wedding photography and ideas. I promise I'll post more in my next posts!