I know this topic has been done to death before, and I should know better, having avoided it for long enough, but I am seriously considering trying to make money out of this thing called photography (unless I can find someone to pay me more soonish)

I have the technical knowledge. I could probably do with practise in terms of composition, poses and people wrangling though. I can probably cope with the marketing etc well enough to suppliment my income which is all it would be to begin with. But I feel like I should get some practise under my belt before I hang my hat out so to speak.

What avenues have people used to gain this experience? I was thinking to shoot a coulpe of weddings at low or no cost (i know it kills the market for the legitimate guys) but I guess I need a portfolio to start with. I thought of advertising on Craigs list, but in Australia it really isn't used. I am also seriously considering enrolling in a wedding boot camp type course, but money is tight at the moment and they aren't exactly cheap.

Those who have made the move from a hoby to a paying job or at least second job, what path did you take and how did it go longer term?