Guiding Wedding Venues To Success
Ciara Crossan, the CEO and Founder at WeddingDates boasts over 15 years of industry experience. Her expertise has been instrumental in building a successful company and guiding wedding venues across Ireland and the UK to elevate their business strategies. Ciara, a tech-savvy entrepreneur is deeply committed to supporting local businesses and empowering women in entrepreneurship.
WHAT IS YOUR TITLE/POSITION?
I am the Founder and CEO of WeddingDates.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH WEDDINGDATES?
I’ve been with the company since the beginning! In 2008, armed with a bold vision to revolutionise the way weddings were planned and booked in Ireland, I embarked on my entrepreneurial journey. Drawing from my family’s background in hotels and my BIS degree, I identified a gap in the market and took the leap at the age of 25 to pursue my passion. This year we celebrated our 15-year anniversary which is an amazing milestone to achieve and I couldn’t have done it without our loyal customers and the support of our staff.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU’VE CARRIED OVER TO YOUR CURRENT ROLE FROM YOUR PREVIOUS JOBS?
Persuasion. I used to work in recruitment so I was “selling” candidates or “selling” the job/company to prospective candidates to lure them to change jobs. I became adept at talking on the phone and building rapport quickly and easily with people.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT WITHIN THIS ROLE TO DATE? (WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?)
There have been so many highlights in the 15-year journey of WeddingDates. But one of the biggest achievements I would say is building a 10-strong team of dedicated and loyal employees. I feel so lucky to have such a passionate and committed group of people that work alongside me every day. I am also so proud of our longevity as a company. Being in business for 15 years, surviving a recession and thriving through a global pandemic means we have a stable and sustainable business and that is something I am incredibly proud of.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF YOUR JOB AND WHY?
My favourite part is brainstorming new ideas with the team, getting out to meet clients and industry friends at events and delighting clients with a tool that makes their daily jobs easier.
WHAT IS THE MOST FRUSTRATING PART OF YOUR JOB AND WHY?
It is particularly frustrating when you go out of your way to do something for a client and they don’t acknowledge it or thank you. You learn very quickly which customers really value your time and expertise and as a result, you end up wanting to do more for them. I have gotten better over the years at saying no and putting up boundaries with people who expect me to do something for nothing.
WHEN YOU WERE A KID, WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?
Believe it or not, I wanted to own a hotel!
WHAT IS THE COOLEST THING YOU’VE SEEN AT A WEDDING?
I attended a friend’s wedding in Spain and they didn’t have a sit-down meal at all. They had 25 “mini-courses” served throughout the day and food at different “stations” around the venue. I befriended the Serrano Ham man! Spanish “pinchos” are some of my favourite foods, so I was in my element!
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE WAYS TO SPEND A WEEKEND?
Spending time with my twin boys and my parents, especially outdoors when the weather is good. Meals out and laughter with good friends.
HAVE YOU ANY PARTICULAR HOBBIES/INTERESTS OUTSIDE OF WORK?
As a proud single mother to energetic 9-year-old twin boys, I skillfully balance the responsibilities of home life with my entrepreneurial ambitions. Despite the demands of running a business, I make sure to prioritise quality time with my boys and extended family. When I’m not busy at work, I enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and sea swimming, which help me stay active and rejuvenated. I love to read and often have 2-3 books on the go at any one time. I also find solace in practising yoga, which helps me maintain a healthy work-life balance. Creating lasting memories with my boys through holidays and shared experiences is a cherished part of my life beyond the business.
IF MONEY WAS NO OBJECT, WHAT WOULD BE THE FIRST THING YOU WOULD BUY?
A holiday home in Portugal right on the coast!