Mother and daughter transform a vacant church into an event space

IDA – Susan Wingate and Emily Hoffman took a leap of faith and bought a church.

The mother and daughter team buy properties, renovate and repair them, then sell them for a profit.

Hoffman works part-time and her mother owns Wingate Stables cattle ranch in Ottawa Lake with her husband, David.

In June 2022, they purchased a vacant church and turned it into a business. Water to Wine Venue and Hall is located at 12810 Lulu Road, at the corner of Douglas Road in Ida.

“We were flipping houses and we bought the church and were planning to turn it into a home. It was one of our dreams to turn the church into a home,” Emily Hoffman said.

A change in the housing market caused the duo to rethink their real estate strategy and they decided to convert the church into an event venue to start earning an income.

“My mother and I are doing everything except the sides and ceilings because we are afraid of heights. To prepare the church, we did a lot of vandalism. We removed the different levels of steps that the choir would stand on. We removed the furniture, the cabinets and all the carpeting. We replaced the floors with vinyl planks and put New kitchen cabinets.” “It took a lot of paint. Everything is brand new except for the original wood trim and stained glass windows.

The former church was built in the 19th century and is approximately 4,800 square feet, providing a main room in which wedding ceremonies are held as well as two separate rooms for the use of the bride and groom. There are also four bathrooms (two of which are handicap accessible), reception and dance rooms. The lower level has a full kitchen where guests can cook or cater their own event needs.

Guest capacity depends on the activity. Up to 150 guests can attend a wedding reception and up to 250 guests can attend a school dance.

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Banquet tables and chairs are provided along with ivory tablecloths and napkins.

“We are open to hosting any event that needs a venue or hall. We can do weddings, receptions, art classes, holiday parties, gender reveal parties, baby showers, bridal showers, and family reunions,” Hoffman said. “Some can People with large families rent the church for Christmas or a big family dinner. We are also planning dances and workshops.

“We are booking for weddings in 2023, 2024 and 2025. Anyone can call and schedule a tour. We are closed a full day, from 10am-10pm or 11am-11pm, for weddings and receptions. If the event is a shower or reunion family or a different type of event, we will determine how many hours they will need.

Adding to the uniqueness of the building is the decoration. There is a suspended dance floor in the garden and a floral entrance.

“In the entrance room, when you first walk in, all the walls and ceiling are covered in white silk flowers with lights behind them so that the whole room glows,” she said. “In the Hanging Garden, greenery hangs from the ceiling and lights and flowers hang over the room. This room is the dance floor. It is located next to where the tables are set up for the reception.”

The botanical additions to the building were Hoffman’s idea.

“I’m not sure where I got the design ideas, but I wanted to be a fashion designer when I was little,” she said. “What I enjoy most is seeing the idea realized.”

Their venue offers a modern church with old-world charm, Hoffman said.

“We are doing the modern version of a traditional wedding,” she said. “It’s great to know that we will be helping people make memories and that we are saving the building for people who made memories there when it was still a church. Their names are still on the stained glass windows.”

Hoffman and her mother are preparing for their first wedding at the venue later this month. The house is scheduled to be open from noon to 3 p.m. on October 1st.

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