Tara Fitzgerald, the owner of Planned By Tara
Fenagh native, Tara Fitzgerald, the owner of Planned By Tara, has positioned herself as Ireland's leading wedding planner and specialises in Destination Weddings in Malta.
She has this week been named the 2020 "Wedding Planner of the Year" as her business has gone from strength to strength.
Speaking to Carlow Live, she said: "I am a Carlow based business and last November, I received a notification that I was chosen as a finalist in the category 'Wedding Planner of the Year' in The Irish Wedding Awards.
"The awards ceremony took place on Monday, January 20 at The Crowne Plaza Dublin Airport. I was thrilled to win the award of Wedding Planner of the Year for 2020.
"This is a huge achievement for me and my business having only launched in early 2018. There were lots of nominees from Carlow, however, I was the only Carlow winner on the night."
Tara spoke about the origins of her business and how following a year of market research, specialist training and business modelling in 2017, Tara launched her business in 2018.
She has experienced continued growth since her launch. As Ireland's only wedding planner specialising in Destination Weddings in Malta, Tara has her sights set on being a market leader in Malta in 2020.
With a background in science and a 10 year career as a quality specialist in the pharmaceutical industry, Tara brings a wealth of experience in supplier and project management to her business.
She believes that the skills that she has acquired in industry have positioned her to become a market leader in 2020.
A love of weddings and the overall design concept are important elements of her business, but it is her ability to worker smarter, leaner and using process based systems is what she believes will drive future growth.
As a former Malta bride in 2015, Tara originally set-up the business in an effort to support other Irish couples on their wedding journey after witnessing first hand the stresses and strains of planning a wedding abroad.
Her aim was to provide a more transparent and simplified wedding planning process whilst offering a bespoke and tailor made event for her clients and their guests.
News of her services grew quickly and within one year, Tara was booking clients from throughout Europe, Australia and USA. Malta has been positioned as one of Europe's top locations for a destination wedding.
59.7% of the 1423 Civil Marriages that took place in Malta in 2018 were by foreign couples, mainly originating from Europe.
With hundreds of Irish couples flocking abroad in recent years in an effort to avoid the traditional Irish wedding, Tara has identified a niche market.
Around 500 of the country's top businesses and wedding specialists gathered at The Crowne Plaza Hotel Dublin Airport to find out the champions of The 4th Irish Wedding Awards 2020.
The awards recognised everyone that works hard towards creating memorable and unique weddings; from wedding planners, coordinators, specialists and caterers to photographers, videographers, florists and stationary suppliers.
The glitzy evening was hosted by the best-selling author, Andrea Hayes. She presented the awards and acknowledged those who promote excellence in the industry, inspire others by their achievements and add the fairy-tale sparkle to any wedding.
A spokesperson for The Irish Wedding Awards 2020 said: "The winners represent the industry’s gold standard that work tirelessly to meet the demands of the couples and their guests.
"The awards showcased some of the best wedding specialists that operate in the industry, whose excellence and commitment brought them at the forefront of the industry.
“The competition was really tough this year, but these champions are tried and tested specialists that know how to create a stress-free wedding experience, keeping the romance in the air. We would like to congratulate all finalists and winners for their amazing achievements.”