Now, this may seem like a strange title for a blog post by a wedding photographer but I am a great believer in being honest with my clients and that means always giving them honest advice.
So, do you need a wedding photographer? I will be honest, when I got married we chose to not have a wedding photographer. Not because of the cost simply because we had been to a number of weddings where the wedding photographer took over the day. Do we regret that decision? Not at all but in hindsight it could have been nice to have a documentary wedding photographer present. Somebody to shoot the day as it happened not someone choosing to organise the day so that they can great photographs. So, if you are asking the above question I would say that it is not essential but do consider looking at other options.
We asked our friends and family to upload their photos to our dropbox account (everyone will be taking photos!) and from these images we edited a small selection and had a few prints made and also a small photo book. However, this wasn't a substitute for a proffesional photographer taking the shots. Of course I am a photographer so I could edit the images to improve upon drunken compositions and dodgy lighting - You may not have these services available!
If you do decide to get a photographer, look at their style of work and portfolio. Are there a lot of posed shots. Do the people look natural or does it all look a bit planned? If so, considering you are asking if you need a wedding photographer, I would suggest that they are not the photographer for your needs. This doesn't make them a bad photographer - just not a good fit for your wedding.
When I started shooting weddings I vowed to never become a traditional wedding photographer. That is not to say that I don't take some posed, formal shots - Your parents will probably expect these and be mortified if they don't get them. But I keep it to a minimum normally allowing about 20 minutes for formal group shots and 20 minutes for portraits of the couple. This isn't always the case however. I have covered weddings with absolutely no group shots or portraits of the couple.
The thing to remember is that it is your wedding and that you want to enjoy the day and not be stressed about the photographs. I am going to leave you with a small video which shows the type of images which I typically capture during a wedding. You may be looking for lots of posed shots - If this is the case I am afraid that I am probably not the photographer for your wedding!