Photoshop Elements can do that as well... it has actions, layers, plugins, etc. One thing it lacks for heavy volume work like weddings is automation/batch processing.
Both Gimp and PSE can easily do cloning and healing as well.
No matter what you choose you are talking about an investment in time to learn the program/interface and use of the tools. My typical response is DON'T buy CS4 when just beginning to learn using a pixel-editing tool. Quite honestly its overkill for most purposes. PSE is much more cost-effective, the things you learn translate easily to CS4, and in a couple years if you DO decide to get CS, you will (1) be getting a NEWER version of CS and(2) Get a slight to substantial discount on CSx.*
As far as LR... it typically costs $299. If you or household member is a student, you may be eligible for student price of $99. LR3 is in public beta phase, which means a new LR product is right around the corner... so it may be worth waiting to buy. Typically with LR, however, you still will want a pixel editor (Gimp, PSE, CS) to do further work (healing brush, or whatever you couldn't accomplish in LR.)
Looks like you've got some testing ahead of you, because only you can decide what best fits your needs and amount of money you wish to expend. (Adobe has free 30-day trials of their products... so make use of them.)
*substantial discount comes into play when Adobe occasionally/unpredictably has special upgrade offers for PSE users to CS for ~$299.