I agree totally with Wilt. I have shot numerous weddings with 6x6 format cameras having lenses in the area of f/2.8 to f/3.5. Given a relatively powerful flash, there should be no problem with these apertures. Through the lens flash metering is not a neccessity - in fact I have never shot a wedding using any of the Canon TTL systems. I have used many auto and manual flash units with many different cameras over the years. I really like the Sunpak 120J (which also comes with a TTL dedicated module). I always use some sort of diffuser on my flash. I like a small softbox which gives wonderfully soft lighting. I have also used a portable umbrella system wherein the flash is pointed backwrds and bounced from an umbrella. I loved the lighting but, the flash lost too much of its power with this set-up.
I also agree that a 24-70 lens is primo for a 1.6x crop camera. Wide angle freaks consistantly scream for wider lenses. The problem with the ultra wide lens in wedding shots is distortion. It is far better to learn how to arrange groups effectively and shoot them with a lens no wider than 24mm. Using ultra wide lenses is a lazy way to shoot groups. The 70mm long end of a mid-range zoom is fine for head and shoulders shots. In fact you can effectively shoot the entire wedding with just one lens, the 24-70mm f/2.8.
Redundancy is the name of the game in wedding photography. If you believe that you can escape Murphy's Law, then by all means - go to a wedding with one camera/lens combination and one flash unit. However, if you want to ensure that you will be able to provide the wedding couple and their families with a good selection of shots throughout the wedding - always have backup equipment. Buy, rent or borrow it. However, always check out your equipment before the wedding to ensure it is working properly. Check it out and learn how to use it when the shots you take are not emotionally important. Also check it out at a time when you can replace or fix any malfunctioning pieces of equipment.
SCRIPT: Always work with a written script of the shots you need to get complete wedding coverage. You can get many wedding books suggesting lists of shots. Peruse wedding magazines and Internet sites such as PhotoSIG.com to see examples of wedding shots.
My wedding shots are usually divided into 5 categories:
1. Pre wedding portraits of bride and groom.. Often this is impossible due to the superstition that the groom should not see bride in her dress before the ceremony. However formal portraits of bride alone are great. She will oftenbe more relaxed during these pre-wedding shoots than on the actual day.
2. Pre-wedding preparations - Bride dressing, groom's father putting flower on grooms jacket, bridesmaids helping bride, bride looking in mirror, etc.
3. The actual ceremony. Check to see if the person officiating will allow photos during the actual ceremony. If not, you will need to pose these afterwards.
4. Portraits of bride & groom along with the wedding party on altar or church steps.
5. Reception shots - even when I shot using medium format equipment, I enjoyed shooting receptions with a GOOD 35mm camera and lens. Usually, the orders for reception shots were not larger than 8x10" so a 35mm was sufficient. Ask the bride and groom's mothers if there are any special persones they want included during the reception shots.
HANDLING PEOPLE: The art of handling people in a high-stress occasion like a wedding is both an art and a skill. I tend to believe that the bride and the mother or the bride (as well as the rest of the family) really care less about photography "DURING THE WEDDING". You as the photographer are just some more stress that the have to deal with. However, after the wedding, they all want great images. Treading the fine line between being an ASSERTIVE photographer and being an OBNOXIOUS BOSSY photographer is often difficult. However, realising that all the females are usually stressed out and in a tizzy during the entire wedding and reception is an important thing to remember.
Despite the commonly accepted theory, all brides are not good looking. I have had the hardest times shooting the buffarilla (combination between a buffalo and a gorilla) bride. That is because she internally realizes what she looks like and that the camera will cut through the haze of wedding smoke and glitter and picture her as she really is. Obviously, try to picture her in the best possible way. However, that is sometimes difficult or imposible with some brides.
For the best images always remember to say the Wedding Photographer's Prayer"
Please provide me with a beautiful bride and a handsome groom.