Tips for planning your Destination Wedding in Malta with Planned by Tara
Hello, Lovelies! I'm coming to you today with an interview with Tara Fitzgerald from Planned by Tara, who's an Irish wedding planner in Malta! I've known Tara online for a few months now, as a destination wedding photographer I'm a member of her supplier forum & I we follow each others Instagram accounts (that's a big one, right?! :D). I approached her about this interview and I'm so happy she said yes - 2018 has been the best so far for making connections with vendors and creatives all over the place, and it's all for the benefit of my brides! I love the fact that Tara so relatable - she was a destination bride herself once, she loves to travel & she's committed to making your day as stress-free as possible.
Tara explains why hiring a good planner for your destination wedding will make everything much easier & shares her tips about weddings in Malta. We teamed up to give you some guidance & insights on getting married abroad because so often brides would feel pinned down to get married at home thinking there is no other option. With little encouragement and a smaller budget (!), they could be married off on a beautiful island and have a wedding day of their dreams.
Tara (31) is Owner & Lead planner at Planned By Tara. Following her own destination wedding in Malta in 2015, she felt there a real gap in the market for Irish couples. There was no specialist in Ireland, that could offer a bespoke service or had an in-depth knowledge of Malta. Her company was established in 2017 and now Tara is Ireland's only wedding planner specialising in destination weddings in Malta. She loves to create bespoke and stylish wedding events for couples planning a fun, unique and memorable wedding. She selects only the most beautiful outdoor venues to provide her clients with an experience that will remain on her client's minds, long after the big day is over.
Why is Malta such a good place to get married?
Anyone that has met me knows that I could speak about the benefits of planning a wedding in Malta at great length for extended periods of time. Malta is a beautiful country. The landscape there is really unique, which allows for incredible photography. The weather is stunning almost year-round and the choice of venues is quite outstanding considering the tiny size of the island (It is only 316km2). The culture in Malta is quite laid back which tends to align with my clients who are travelling to Malta for a relaxed, fun and memorable experience. Most couples planning a destination wedding in Malta, want a wedding week filled with events for their family and friends and there are so many options available in Malta; boat trips around the island, private parties at exclusive villas or even a simple BBQ by the beach. I have yet to meet a couple whose expectations have not been exceeded following a trip to Malta.
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Sounds amazing! Nearly like having a big family holiday! But as we all know even planning our own family holiday can be stressful - in my relationship I'm always the aeroplane, bus, hotel, language & food person and I always get so overwhelmed. What's the most challenging problem when planning a wedding abroad on your own, without the help of a planner?
Personally, I believe that the biggest challenge facing Irish couples planning a destination wedding in Malta is fear of the unknown. If you were getting married at home you can travel to meet vendors and you can rely on personal recommendations from family and friends. However, planning a wedding abroad independently can present a unique set of difficulties. You may not ever meet your critical suppliers. Some couples choose a venue based solely on images from the internet and others make their choice on cost alone. With so many unknown elements, this is sure to significantly contribute to pre-wedding stress.
Why is a good wedding planner a necessity rather than a luxury when getting married in Malta?
A wedding planner is not always a necessity for some couples. Some people have a natural ability for planning and event management. However, for most, it can be a challenging time. I think once upon a time, a wedding planner was considered a luxury item. But today things are different. We live in an age where people are time poor. My clients typically approach me with a strong wedding concept, and they have a clear vision of their expectation for the day, but they simply don't have enough hours to plan a wedding. A typical wedding takes approximately 200-250 hours to plan. The busy professionals that choose my services would certainly consider my time a necessity and not a luxury. A good wedding planner will ultimately save time and money.
What's the first step you take when planning your client's wedding?
At Planned By Tara, I create bespoke and stylish weddings for Irish couples planning a destination wedding in Malta. The first step of the process for me is to really understand my client's requirements and we develop a detailed checklist of all of the critical elements that we must incorporate. Assuming that a venue has been selected and once I have an in depth understanding of my clients needs, I will develop a mood-board. I will consider colour schemes, textures and the location to really bring their vision to life. The finalised mood-board is essentially used as the blueprint for creating a bespoke wedding day.
Would the weather in Malta make it easier for you? As a destination wedding photographer I thrive in the sunshine, it brings out the best of me and my skills. Not many would realise tho that it's so much easier to photograph a grey, cloudy day than a sunny one! When dealing with harsh light, heat and long summer hours it is so important to stay focused and trust your eye & gear. What's the best time to get married in Malta?
With 3000 hours of sunshine per year, technically anytime is a good time to get married in Malta. I like to break it down for my clients, depending on their requirements:
- July / August are the hottest months and are perfect for sun worshipers. The risk of rain is minimal but it is certainly not for the faint-hearted. It is recommended to have outdoor ceremonies later in the day to avoid the hottest sun.
- June / September - These are the most popular months for Irish and UK couples. The temperatures are warm, but bearable. There is a small risk of rain, but there is more flexibility for outdoor ceremony times. It will be much more comfortable for guests.
- April / May / October / November / December - These months are perfect for couples wanting to experience sunshine on their wedding day without the extremes of temperature. Clients may expect warm days and cooler evenings. However, the likelihood of rain increases in these months, so an indoor back-up venue would be essential.
Why it's so important to hire the right vendors?
I place a great emphasis on quality-led planning and design. I try to educate my clients in looking for value over cost. One of my strengths is sourcing the best suppliers that Malta has to offer. I don't work from a set list of suppliers. For me this is simply not possible as each of my client's needs vary greatly. It is my job to source the best suppliers to meet my client's needs. The right vendor for me is one that provides value and their service aligns with my client's vision. In this industry, it is important for me to build relationships. I will only work with suppliers that I can trust to deliver on my client's expectations. Choosing suppliers based only on cost is risky and can critically impact the wedding day if adequate research is not performed.
That is very true and applies to weddings in Ireland as well. But in here you can always meet people beforehand and hopefully quickly realise if you're a good fit. Would you advise your couples to hire a local supplier over the international one? What're the pros of hiring a planner or photographer who's not local?
Without sounding biased, I would certainly recommend hiring a local planner. As a former Malta bride, I experienced firsthand the process of planning a destination wedding in Malta. I have been in my client's shoes, so my experience is invaluable to my clients. I have been travelling to Malta for the last 10 years, so my clients truly value my knowledge of the area.
What makes my service unique compared to an international wedding planner, is that clients have the option to meet me frequently and really build a relationship with me. What my clients respect most about me and my business is my accessibility, honesty and my personal investment in their wedding. Within 5 minutes of meeting me, you will know that what you see is what you get and I don't sugar coat anything.
What is important to me is that I offer my clients the best value, a customised and bespoke service and that I can create a wedding experience that exceeds their expectations. Having a planner that is local and accessible will increase trust, decrease stress and allows both parties to feel completely at ease.
I also apply this logic to souring any other wedding supplier. If there is a particular service that you feel is critical such as photography, hair or make-up, it is worth considering your local supplier that you know and trust. Many people underestimate the importance of working only with the best suppliers (whether at home or abroad). Reliability and trust is essential for you big day.
I'm going to visit Malta in a few months & I'd love to hear some food recommendations! What do you eat in Malta? Where is the place to be?
The food in Malta is incredible and there is a strong Italian influence. St. Julian's is the main tourist hub in Malta where you will have the most options. But there are is a huge selection of amazing eateries throughout the island. Some of my favourites are:
Blue Elephant @ The Hilton Portomaso
Caviar & Bull @ The Corinthia St. Georges Bay
Buddhamann @The Corinthia St. Georges Bay
Barracuda, Balluta Bay
Dinner in the Sky Malta
Thank you so much for these, Tara, I really can't waint to go to Malta! Would you share your contact details with us? Where can we find you?
You can find me at the following locations:
Couples Forum: https://www.facebook.com/groups/118774192115375/
If you're looking for natural, relaxed & romantic wedding photos please get in touch here. I specialise in light & airy, classic looking photos and I'd love to be a part of your love story and family for a day.
I believe that a wedding photographer is more than just someone with a camera - your wedding photographer should be someone who makes you feel comfortable, someone who eases the craziness of a wedding day, and maybe, someone who eventually becomes a friend.
I'm based in Northern Ireland but working all over Ireland, UK & Europe and have multiple destinations planned for 2019, so you might be in luck I’m already going to be at yours. I’d be delighted to hear from you.
Paula from Hello, Sugar