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Name: Tanya Costigan

Business: Tanya Costigan Events

Location: Westfield, Massachusetts, U.S.

Industry: Travel, Hospitality & Events

Reason for starting? I have always been creative growing up. As I entered the work world in early adulthood, my path took me to the least creative work you can imagine…office work and insurance. In 2010, after volunteering to plan events for the local Boys & Girls Club and local middle school in town, and after having some scary medical incidents, I decided it was time to get back to my creative side and planning events was something I loved doing. I haven’t looked back since.

As a wedding planner and photo stylist, I am passionate about beautiful designs and happy clients. When it comes to couples getting married, I want them to enjoy the time leading up to their wedding day. Getting their praises and seeing their day go off flawlessly while they dance and mingle with their guests really just makes my universe complete. For commercial photo styling clients, my purpose and passion is to bring the vision to life through the styling, and to have them love it.

Related: Read about another events entrepreneur here. 

How do you define success? Stepping back from my work and loving it, is success. Making my clients over the moon happy is success. Inspiring others to have passion and to not hesitate to show it is success. Being freelance, and building my business from the ground up, I have seen it grow continuously. When I first started out, I had 3 weddings in my first year. 7 years later, I am starting 2017 with 21 weddings, and am still filling in dates. I also have 3 booked for 2018. Corporate events are also starting to build in my portfolio, including working with companies like Amazon. Photo styling is a newer pursuit, but I have already worked for great companies like The Container Store and Yankee Candle. I can’t wait to build this service up. It’s so fun to have people in my region know who I am already, and seeing my work already. I’m a huge proponent of social media and about screaming from the mountaintops about what I love to do. I also build and maintain my own website, which really speaks to my work.

Biggest success: I feel my biggest success to date is working with some big name corporate clients and having them love my work. I’m self taught, which can be something you don’t want to admit in the design world. But when the work I do is something that others see as quality, it boosts confidence and reassures me I’m on my path.

What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? My top challenge is scaling up from where I am. I’m shooting for the stars, and want to grow beyond where I am now. I’m in the process of navigating that, and have hired a business consultant. Wish me luck!

Just this past September, I lost my mom very unexpectedly, in the middle of peak wedding season. She was 56 years old and was healthy. On September 5th (Labor Day) around dinner time, we brought her to the emergency room, and they found she had a ruptured brain aneurysm that was bleeding into her brain. They transferred her to another hospital into ICU. They did a procedure that they thought would be successful and for her to make a full recovery, other than maybe a drag leg. She suffered a second bleed and it was discovered that this was a pseudo-aneurysm..not just a regular aneurysm. These are difficult to control, and after 9 days in ICU and 3 bleeds, she did not survive. I was lucky in the sense of my support system with other wedding planners and they stepped up to the plate to help me through the season. My assistants were amazing, too.

Related: In Rural Uganda, Women Supporting Women 

Who is your most important role model? How can I not say Martha Stewart!? I love that she is strong and determined. She is successful and comfortable with that success, which is where I want to be always. The fact that people…not just in the events industry…know her name is amazing. The quality of her work and her knowledge is something I strive for.


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Edited by The Story Exchange