Mr. and Mrs. Zach Whelchel
When most people think about rundown, abandoned buildings, they aren’t thinking about them as being great places to hold weddings and receptions. However, friends and family came together recently to help Sharayah Jung, of Corbin, and Zach Whelchel, of Wilmore, KY, have the wedding of their dreams on Jan. 1st, 2017, in the old JCPenney building on Main Street in Corbin.
The couple, who actually met at Asbury University, dreamed of finding an abandoned building to create a unique atmosphere for their wedding celebration on New Year’s Day. Friends and family of both the bride and groom spent two months of renovating the gutted building and brainstorming ways to overcome the problems of having no electricity, gas, water or heat.
Paint was stripped from the windows and Sharayah’s grandparents, Ray and Lola Miller, spent multiple hours intensely cleaning the facility. The venue was filled with furniture and rugs from thrift stores. Family and friends utilized galvanized roofing for wall siding, and lots of lights were strung from the ceilings of every floor of the building to create a unique festive look.
The bride’s father, Dr. Bruce Jung, and her grandfather, Erv Jung, constructed the hand railings around the balcony of the second floor for the safety of the guests, and three huge mirrors that had been abandoned in the building were moved to the balcony for the dance floor, which worked out nicely.
The groom’s father, John Whelchel, made the beautiful lighted sign based on a computer rendering of Landry Jung’s unique calligraphy for the venue wall.
There were 40 barn wood tables constructed by friends and family for the event. Michael Mitchell donated his barn for the wood and Jordan Jung coordinated a team of EKU college students to come down and disassemble it. Russ Pope, of Pope Lumber, donated weathered 2x4s for the table frames. All the tables were offered for sale to wedding guests and friends after the wedding and, to the amazement of the bride’s father, all were sold.
The funds from the hand built tables went toward the honeymoon.
Five kerosene and propane heaters were used to preheat the building and three generators were used to supply electricity for the renovation and the special day.
Since there were no working restrooms in the building, attorney Todd Childers graciously allowed the wedding guests to use the restrooms of his old office, located across the street. Guests were also reminded that they were in an abandoned building, to watch their step and not to lean on any windows.
Everything came together beautifully for the wedding. The guests more than filled the seating planned for 250 guests.
The lovely bride is the daughter of Dr. Bruce Jung (owner of The Doc Shoppe) and Melissa Jung of Corbin, and the granddaughter of Erv and Marion Jung and Ray and Lola Miller. She is a graduate of Corbin High School, and recently graduated from the University of Kentucky with a doctorate in Physical Therapy.
The handsome groom is the son of John and Cheryl Whelchel, of Wilmore, KY, and the grandson of Albert and Mary Whelchel and Bill and Barbara Horton. He is a graduate of Wilmore High School and Asbury University and is co-owner of two software companies, one of which produced the popular Bible memorization software application named “Verses” for Apple iPhones and iPads.
The family is extremely thankful to all who helped in any way before, during and after the wedding, including the board and CEO of the Corbin Housing Authority, and also to the new owners of the building for a
llowing use of the facility. Thank you to Todd Childers for the use of his office, and to the people who donated items, time and effort into making this crazy dream into a beautiful reality.