Church turned into wedding chapel

Published 4:17 pm Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jemison resident Cindy Vining turned an old church in the city into a wedding chapel.

Cindy Vining believes in happy endings.

It’s the reason she opened the Jemison Wedding Chapel.

Sure, Vining likes the idea of couples using the historic church she and her husband renovated to commit to spending the rest of their lives together, but she also thinks the business venture itself will turn out like it would in a story.

The church was built in 1831.

“All my life, I’ve always wanted to do something like this,” Vining said.

For years, Vining has enjoyed decorating, baking cakes and creating porcelain dolls, thinking that one day she might like to open a tea room or something of the sort.

She and her husband, Frank, moved to Jemison from McCalla about six years ago, and one day a classified advertisement caught her attention.

“There it was—this church,” Vining said. “It’s like it hit me. I didn’t hesitate. I just remember picking up the phone and calling. The more we talked, the more excited I got about it.

“From that point on, nothing has gone wrong.”

Well, that’s not exactly the case. The remodeling of the old Methodist church has gone well, and Vining is pleased with the result, but between finding the church and beginning the work on April 1, Vining was laid off from her job at Wyatt Construction.

And she found out on her birthday, no less.

Co-workers at Wyatt knew Vining’s plans for the church and presented her with a $600 gift card to a home improvement store before she left.

Vining put the gift card plus her savings into remodeling the church and hasn’t looked back.

“I’ve been led by this, and I’ve never once thought that I made a mistake,” she said.

The work has been exhaustive. Every wall needed a new coat—or coats—of paint, and Vining carefully chose colors that would have been used when the church was built in 1831.

Carpet was ripped up, wooden floors re-done, light fixtures replaced and furniture and paintings picked out at antique stores.

“I worked harder here than I did on my job,” Vining said.

The Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting June 30, but any upcoming weddings having been already planned at a different location, Vining has hit a lull she hopes is short lived.

“I’ve got lots of plans for it; I just need it to start happening,” she said.

For more information about the chapel, visit The chapel is located at 161 Thomas Street in Jemison.