Wedding planner turns old Saint John church into banquet hall
Khouri Tobias was on chandelier duty Tuesday, doing the intricate work that is shedding some light on a unique renovation and restoration project.
“My sister has a vision,” Khouri Tobias said.
That vision was to transform the former Cornerstone Baptist Church in the south end of Saint John into a venue for weddings and other events.
“It was a big jump for us, to take on such a huge building -- a church at that -- and to change it into something different for people to rent out,” Natasha Tobias said.
Natasha Tobias and fiancé Paul Cooper bought the building, went through the rezoning process, and then, the real work began.
The church dated back to the mid-1800s.
Aside from the main hall, there are lots of other rooms, along with nooks and crannies that need work, but, they are also making headway.
“I really do love the progress, I love what she's doing here” Khouris Tobias said. “That she's saving another church from what could happen, and what she's done with the place.”
And already, there are weddings being booked here well into next year and the year after.
"August is full. September is full. And October we have one Saturday night available,” Natasha Tobias said.
The wedding planner had the vision, but transforming this historic church into a major venue has been a group effort, in fact, a family effort.
On this day, dad is doing plumbing duty.
“When you're 72 years old, you've done this stuff before,” said Gary Tobias. “So I help her out as much as I can. I might have to have my afternoon nap, but besides that, everything's good.”
Natasha Tobias has also had help from her mother, who has been helping out by cooking for everyone during the renovations, which are coming down to crunch time.
“My brother and his lovely girlfriend Joclyn are now here from P.E.I.,” said Natasha Tobias. “We need to get this done for the first event that's happening on Sept. 28th.”
That first event in the new venue will be Natasha’s own wedding.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.