Been spending a lot of time on here!
Well, I like the shot. A lot.
I can see that although it's technically a couple shot, the female is the bride and the bride takes centre stage on her wedding day. The groom is just a prop when it comes to the photos. The look on the bride's face is a classic capture! ... and I love the background.
As for using friends to model, why not? In an actual wedding the photog is shooting for the couple, for publicity shots with models he can let his creativity flow freely.
Hahaha That's pretty how it is at every wedding. The bride has her own perfect wedding planned since she was a little girl and the groom is just there as a photo prop.
In addition to being able to practice some of the lighting, it was a challenge for me to put 2 strangers together and make them naturally look like a couple. I never hide the fact that this was a styled shoot.
For me, capturing the emotion is a lot more important than technical perfection. A standard technically perfect picture can be bland and boring IMHO. However, it's not an excuse for me to be lacking on the technical aspect of photography. I do other shoots that are highly technical and I'm very well versed in studio, creative lighting, posing, and composition guidelines.