I'm not a steadicam operator, but I am in the same boat as you are. I am looking for a quality rig for a lower price.
What I have found from my research is that it is more depending on how much weight you are planning on flying. By this, what camera do you have. If you are shorting primarily weddings, I assume you use your own cameras and don't use a wide range of cameras.
With this info, you can pick a real Tiffen Steadicam rig to match your camera.
Merlin: up to 5 lbs less than $4000 w/ vest and arm
Pilot: 5 - 10 lbs less than $6000
Flyer LE: 10 - 19 lbs? less than $9000
If you are doing mainly events videography (since you are in the Event forum) I don't see you needing anything bigger than the Flyer. Especially if you are a beginner, you don't want to invest anything more than that.
Although, if you are wanting to freelance as a steadicam operator for my commercial work, you would want to go w/ the Flyer at a minimum. And if you are wanting to be taken series, you want to only work with Steadicam, it is by far the best quality. Everything else is just a knock off of Steadicam.