Woman renovating abandoned Nacogdoches church to get married

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Bride-to-be Jennifer Wade wanted her wedding venue to be the start of something great.

That's why she took on renovating a vacant church built in 1914.

"Everyone's been pretty accommodating, so I kind of feel like I'm the lucky one," Wade said.

"Jennifer, indeed, has done what no one has up to this point," said Jeff Abt, the Nacogdoches Historical Foundation Member.

It took more than 10 years to get just the outside of this building structurally sound, but with Jennifer's donations of her time and her money, this building will be ready to host her wedding next month.

"She wanted to give a very nice donation and have the floors repaired and take it upon herself to clean the church for her wedding," said Mike Bay, the Nacogdoches Historical Foundation president. "And, she has done a magnificent job."

She say's she didn't do it for recognition.

Wade wanted to give back to the historic Zion Hill community.

"It's clean, but it's still very original and has such a rich history," Wade said. "I just think part of the beauty of this place is seeing where it is now and what could be done."

The church is also special because her son is buried in the neighboring cemetery.

Abt, will be officiating her August ceremony.

"It's an honor, and I'll be able to stand before them and ask if they do," Abt said. "And, I hope they say they do after all this work."

The historic foundation has donated $500,000 toward outside renovations.

Jennifer has donated countless hours cleaning.

The foundation sold the church to the city last year, and they plan to continue renovations after the wedding.

"It'll be a museum about Zion Hill, the community, and African-American influence in Nacogdoches," Abt said.

"I think it stands to have a lot of beautiful occasions in the future," Wade said.

The city plans to continue renovations after the nuptials.

Once completed, the historic church will include catering kitchens and host concerts, weddings and other events.

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