It’s a good idea depending on your expectations. If you’re willing to potentially sacrifice some quality and some of the luxuries of hiring a professional photographer in order to get a (likely much more reasonable) price on your wedding photography then go for it.
Here’s what I can tell you about the differences between amateur and professional photographers from my own experience as an amateur photographer in my college years - most professionals carry photography insurance. This ensures that if someone steals their equipment, if their cameras are damaged in a fire or the computer they use to edit their photos is damaged in a flood they’ll be insured replacements. When you hire a professional, the cost of this insurance is factored into the rate and is one of the reasons you pay more than you would for an amateur like I was who didn’t carry that kind of insurance.
Another difference is that I didn’t have a lot of equipment outside of my camera, besides flashes and reflectors and my brother and sister-in-law to back me up. I didn’t have any professional programs for editing (this was also years ago when there weren’t as many programs and apps that were as accessible to me as they would be now) whereas my professional counterparts’ higher rates afforded them better equipment for taking and editing wedding photos.
Speaking of my brother and sister-in-law - we split whatever we made three ways even and only worked in the city we lived in to cut down on travel expenses. When you hire a professional photographer they’re going to make sure that they make enough to cover their own costs (like gas, insurance and the price of their equipment), plus profit, plus whatever they need to pay their assistants and editors. That’s all falling into the higher price you pay for a photographer. That also usually means you’re getting better quality by trained professionals not three college kids who grew up to be a writer, a police officer and an office administrative professional and none of whom do any photography outside of their iPhone these days.
If you’re looking to save money by hiring a college student three things to keep in mind are:
The quality won’t be as magazine glamorous as the photographer who costs $8,000. But find a student with a nice portfolio and you’re still going to get attractive work at a fraction of the cost.
The less money your photographer costs the less magic they’re going to be able to work. They probably don’t have the same training as a professional, expensive photographer so don’t go into the deal thinking they’re going to have the means to really pamper you. If you pay the big bucks for a wedding photographer you might get a free boudoir session with the wardrobe included, an online gallery for your images and maybe even a few meetings leading up to the big day to really define the style your going for. Hire cheap and you’re not going to get that - you’re not paying for it.
You’re probably going to wait longer for your pictures. Amatuer photogs are usually editing the event themselves while most professional photographers will pass the images along to their assistants to edit. More people working on your event means a quicker turnaround for your photos. Having a college student who’s also probably working another job and taking classes isn’t going to be able to hand those over quite so quickly.