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Rising Stars: Meet Jen Wennerberg

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jen Wennerberg.

Hi Jen, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Hi! I’m Jen from Jennifer Maren Photography. I’m a photographer, wife and mother, currently living on a little hobby farm in Wisconsin. I grew up in Orono, MN with a mother who LOVED photos. I have so many gems from my childhood but not a lot of photos with her in them because she was always behind the lens. The photos I do have with her in them are some of my most cherished possessions.

My path to being a wedding photographer is a unique one. Photography has been something I’ve been interested in as long as I can remember, probably inspired from watching my mom look at negatives and deciding which photos to print. But I never really considered photography something that could be a job. After graduating college I moved from California to Boston where I got my Master’s Degree in Public Relations while I worked for a non-profit and bartended. After completing my degree I moved to Chicago and worked for one of the top publication companies in the world, Conde Nast. In 2012 I moved back to Minnesota and got a position with an ad agency in Minneapolis. All along this journey, I traveled a lot and photographed incredible experiences in Australia, New Zealand, all over Europe and 40+ states in the US.

I shot my first wedding for friends in 2016 and a few weeks later got engaged myself. Through the wedding planning process I fell in love with wedding days and being able to capture the emotion felt in those incredible moments. It is so fun to see how couples tie in meaningful elements and plan their day to align with their personalities.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
COVID definitely shook up everything for the wedding industry. So many couples had to make difficult decisions to postpone or cancel their weddings, which impacted also so many vendors. Scheduling and helping couples through everything was a huge learning experience and ultimately gave me a bigger appreciation for weddings and the couples I get to serve. I got to experience many smaller, more intimate weddings that were very special.

On a personal note, I also have three young children and carried and gave birth to twins during the pandemic. I try to keep work/life balance but it is a constant challenge. Many people don’t understand that amount of time that photographers invest outside of the actual wedding or session time. Between editing, managing social media accounts and websites, consulting with clients and all of the financial management tasks related to running your own business, it is a huge time commitment!

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I’m a photographer, specializing in weddings and couples. I cover all types of weddings but destination weddings and elopements are an absolute favorite of mine, as I’ve always been passionate about traveling and scuba diving. I think tying in the amazing experience of going on a vacation or escaping away from home to celebrate your love with your closest friends and family is such a beautiful way to celebrate.

My couples love working with me because I am a calming, laid-back presence. One thing I’ve learned is that nothing ever goes 100% to plan on a wedding day and I’m very comfortable rolling with the punches and making things work to ensure my couples get the most spectacular day possible.

We’d love to hear about how you think about risk taking?
I’m not a very religious person, but I do think everything happens for a reason. I’ve taken a LOT of big risks in my life and many have them have changed me for the better. After graduating college I moved from California to Boston with no job lined up, no career path and no plan. I ended up meeting some wonderful people that I’m still friends with to this day and had incredible professional and educational experiences there. After completing my Master’s Degree at Northeastern, I moved to Chicago. Again, I knew I wanted to move and try a new city but had no job or plan when I landed there. It all worked out in the long run and I truly believe the risks I’ve taken in my life have brought me some of the most remarkable experiences.

Really, most great things in life involve at least some degree of risk. I’d be miserable if I was constantly thinking about what could have been.

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