Over the past 18 years (and counting), I’ve had the opportunity to perform at many wedding venues in the Twin Cities metro area: from the VFWs in Maplewood and Cottage Grove to Windows on Minnesota in the IDS Tower in Minneapolis; from the steampunk-inspired venue that is Kellerman’s Event Center in White Bear Lake to the multi-spaced Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center. I consider a few of them my preferred wedding venues.
Ask any wedding entertainers if they have a favorite venue and they will probably rattle off a few names in rapid succession. There are a number of reasons that they will cite as to why these locations are their faves – ease of loading in their gear; proximity to their home base; how easy it is to work with the staff, etc.
Among my favorite venues to handle events is Brackett’s Crossing Country Club. It’s been one of my preferred wedding venues for a number of years and I always have a fun time being there. Located in Lakeville, MN, Brackett’s Crossing has a sizable ballroom that can accommodate hundreds of guests for a wedding or any other type of event. The event staff is top-notch; their food is award-winning and I personally feel as if I’m a surrogate member of their team whenever I have the privilege of performing there.
Enter Ms. Kendra Simonis, Director of Sales and Catering at Brackett’s Crossing. I’ve had the honor of working alongside her at several events. Dedicated to our mutual clients, attentive, collaborative and detailed, Kendra is a pleasure to work with. She was kind enough to allow me to feature her on this Preferred Vendor Spotlight (Author’s Note: some answers have been edited for clarity).
What motivated you to pursue event planning?
My mom always jokes with me that from a very young age I was a planner. I would create itineraries and checklists for my own birthday parties and give my parents RSVP instructions for when my friends would call back. I knew I wanted to go into hospitality and the event planning world when I was in high school. I was very involved in my school’s Student Council – we planned many school events including dances, pep-rallies, homecoming parades, fundraising events and more. When I found out this can actually be a career I knew it was for me!
How long have you been on staff at Brackett’s Crossing?
I began as a rotational food and beverage intern in the summer of 2017 then returned full-time as the Club Communications Coordinator after I graduated from UW (University of Wisconsin) – Stout in the spring of 2019. I began in the Sales and Catering Department in the fall of 2019 then became the Director of Sales and Catering in March of 2021.
What do you love most about being the Director of Sales and Catering at Brackett’s Crossing so far?
There are so many things that I love, but I get such a rush when working with wedding couples and helping them create their dream weddings. There is no better feeling than what you experience when a truly grateful couple thanks you for making their day so special and unforgettable – knowing that you played a key role in making that day possible for them.
Do you have any favorite wedding trends?
The First Look.
What makes the First Look your favorite?
Call me a gush, but there is nothing sweeter than a parent or soon-to-be spouse seeing their child or partner all dressed up on their wedding day for the first time. I think that is the moment when everything feels real. All of their stresses seem to melt away and, in that moment, it is pure bliss.
What is the most fun wedding that you’ve personally handled?
There have been some super fun and unique weddings that I have lent a hand in putting on, but one that will forever stick with me was a Cow Themed Wedding. The bride and groom and their families were dairy farmers, so it had to be incorporated into their big day. They:
- Used ear tags for their place cards and hung them on chicken wire.
- Used old milk jugs containing field flowers for their centerpieces.
- Used big cowbells with table numbers painted on them – guests would ring the cowbells if they wanted the couple to kiss.
- Had a sign at their bar that said “Let’s Party Till the Cows Come Home.”
It was such a fun, light-hearted and energetic crowd who line danced the whole night till the cows came home.
What would you say makes Brackett’s Crossing unique among wedding venues?
I think there are three key pieces that make Brackett’s stand apart from other wedding venues:
- Our food and service is phenomenal
- We can easily customize and personalize each event to be unique to each couple and
- We are very hands-on with our couples, allowing us to truly assist them in putting together the perfect day for them.
And finally, what is one personality trait or interest that you have that not everyone knows about you?
My passion has always been horses! I am a country girl through and through and I cannot wait to have my own horse once again and live on my own hobby farm with my husband and future kids! In my dream world, I would live on acreage where I could build my own wedding barn venue and have a field of horses in the background photos. And, of course, create an on-site petting zoo with my host of animals for guests to enjoy, too.
It’s been a pleasure getting to know Kendra a little better. People in positions like hers have contributed a lot to the success that I’ve enjoyed as the founder of Behind the Board DJ Entertainment. The trust and faith that is placed in me by Kendra and her staff, along with the kind words that they share with the couples that they consult with is MASSIVELY appreciated.
If you know of someone searching for a venue to host their event (wedding, corporate event, holiday party or for some other occasion), give Kendra and Brackett’s Crossing Country Club serious consideration. For more information about Brackett’s Crossing’s wedding services, email Kendra.
Ballroom Photo Credit: Nicole Engstrom of Little Mac Design Weddings.