Planner Profile: Jenna
Jenna Culley is a born and raised Wisconsin girl but began her career in New York working at high end, private clubs learning how to plan, execute and design over-the-top events. When she returned to the
Midwest, she launched Jenna Culley Events in the Minneapolis - St. Paul area and brought all of that big city experience layered with her small town smile. She now has a team of planners that hold her same service-driven values and perfectionist tendencies. Jenna lives in Oakdale with her husband, Justin, and their three children, Cate, Ava and Wyatt.
Ok sure, sure... that's a good bio and all but let's get to know Jenna a little bit more with some fun questions!
1. Tell me about your background in events?
I started my career working at high-end private clubs out in New York which helped me learn how a venue runs an event and how to plan a gorgeous, well-executed experience for guests. From there, I was the Executive Director of the Minneapolis District of the Muscular Dystrophy Association where I learned how to stretch a dollar and create successful fundraising events.
After all of that, I started my own event planning company, Jenna Culley Events, in 2012 and have loved working with busy professionals who want a beautiful wedding day and fun experience for their guests but don’t really have time to pull together the logistics or design. I’ve also been able to work with some wonderful non-profits, foundations and corporations executing fundraisers, golf outings and exciting events for their employees and clients.
2. What is your favorite part of a wedding?
I know that every other planner says “the walk down the aisle” and that’s great and yes, I do get choked up sometimes but I love, LOVE the moments when the bride and groom are alone. Moments like the First Look or sneaking them away for sunset photos are when I see them get to take in the day and be just themselves together. I’m honored to be a part of so many of those little moments.
I also absolutely love doing what I call the “First Look of the Room.” I take our couples and reveal the completely set up room to them before guests are in the space. It allows them to see all the dreams, ideas and designs we’ve been working on for months come to life in a private ballroom that’s literally set for them. I smile like an idiot every time.
3. Do you have a favorite style of wedding that you like to work on?
Yes! I love when weddings have a juxtaposition of styles that we’ve woven together to create their own, unique look. Examples would be a black and white formal wedding in a tent by a lake, completely modern decor in a rustic venue or a glammed out, full on sparkle design in a clean, white, minimalistic space. I figure we’re taking two people’s lives and molding them together, why can’t we do that with the design as well?
4. Tell us about yourself (your family, hobbies, etc…)
I was born and raised in Wisconsin and grew up as a girl who loved doing things like playing the piano, having tea parties and playing dress up all day while at the same time, fishing for muskies, roughing it camping in the great outdoors and holding my own in sports. My mom would say I was an event planner from birth, always organizing activities for my friends and making tables pretty for holidays.
I met my husband, Justin, when we both did an internship at a private club in New York and we’ve been friends and partners through having 3 (adorable) kiddos, 3 businesses, moving multiple times and flipping houses.
I know I have hobbies but I honestly love working on my business. I’m not just saying that. I love it. It’s what I would usually choose to do with my free time. I do love going out for a nice meal though and enjoying great wine. I also run, read or watch things like Gilmore Girls or the Great British Bake Off to unwind!
5. Tell us one funny quirk you have that not a lot of people would not know about you.
I don’t like when foods that will stick to each are touching. A piece of fish laid over rice? Sure, no problem. But a steak on mashed potatoes? Why?! Why is that necessary? I like both but I don’t necessarily want to eat them in the same bite.
6. What’s your favorite color palette for a wedding?
I’m not going to lie - I totally love the blushes with whites, ivories and creams mixed with greenery. I even love that as the base of the color palette and then throwing in cranberry, burgundy, dark purple or an antique blue. I think it’s classic, timeless and has a romantic feel.
7. Explain your personal style and personality by choosing 3 famous people, brands or movies/books that you feel most exemplify who you are.
Kate Spade - first of all, I actually love this brand, but the style of it is a combination of classic with a touch of trendy. I’d like to think my style is similar.
Joanna Gaines - She is both an amazing designer and businesswoman while also being a present mother and wife. That’s a difficult combo that I aspire to be everyday.
Rachel Hollis - She is full of energy, an amazing entrepreneur and is this perfect combo of motivator and friend that will tell you how it really is without hurting your feelings.