About The Durham Family - Owners of Cavender Castle - Georgia Wedding VenuesMeet Cavender Castle Owners - Rick, Cyndi, & Delaney Durham
Cavender Castle… Where you can have a Royal Wedding that’s not a Royal Pain!
Meet Cyndi Nichols Durham:
Cyndi Durham is a self admitted “Wedding Addict”. She eats, breathes and lives for weddings. Even when she is away from Cavender Castle (one of the longest running Georgia Wedding Venues) she scours the internet for trends and ideas that can help her brides. In her off time you will find her watching wedding shows on TV. Sometimes she even dreams about weddings!
Cyndi has been planing weddings since 2003. Over that time she has planned and coordinated almost 1000 weddings at Cavender Castle and at other venues all around the south. In high school and college she directed her Mom’s day care center. After marrying Rick in 1984, she founded and operated her own chain dance and gymnastics studios with a focus on pre-schoolers.
All of the experience with kids makes Miss Cyndi an expert at making sure that children have a great wedding experience. Cyndi makes sure that Cavender Castle is the most kid-friendly wedding venue in Georgia, if not the entire USA.
Cyndi is also an excellent photographer. Her eye for details and fun-friendly personality enable her to get fantastic wedding poses (even from those who hate to have their picture taken). For our Elopements and All Inclusive Weddings she usually photographs the wedding while husband Rick officiates. She is also the founder of our sister company For Always Photos that shoots weddings and portraits throughout the region.
Cyndi personally manages all of our Mid-Life Couples (over age 40). Being in her mid-fifties herself she has found that Mid-Life couples tend to relate better to wedding planners who have similar life experiences. Younger couples are given the choice of having Cyndi plan their event, or having Cyndi’s daughter Delaney handle the lead.
But even if the couple elects to have Delaney plan their event, Cyndi is never far away. And it is not unusual for Cyndi to act as the “surrogate mom” for young couples whose families live far away and cannot be part of the planning process.
Rev. Rick Durham a student and innovator when it comes to weddings and the wedding business.
Prior to getting into the wedding business with his wife, Cyndi he spent 25 years in corporate America in a variety of sales, marketing, and product management positions. Prior to retiring from that life he managed a $25 Million global food ingredient business. In this role he traveled around the world sampling the tastes and flavor sensations favored by other cultures.
Today, Rick manages our Culinary Team in bringing outstanding food and beverage experiences to you and your guests.
Once Rick retired from the corporate world he jumped into the family wedding business with both feet. As a trained public speaker he was appalled by unprofessional approach used by many of the wedding officiants who worked events at Cavender Castle. He cringed whenever he witnessed an awful speaker who mumbled or just recited from a written script. So in 2010 he became an ordained minister with the purpose of improving upon wedding ceremonies.
Since then Rick has become the busiest wedding officiant in Georgia performing over 200 weddings a year. He designed on Online Ceremony Builder that give his couples complete control over the style, wording, and theme of their ceremony. His couples love not being surprised on their wedding day! And best of all Rick has the ability to mirror the personality of his couples with presentations that range from “lighthearted and joyful” to “traditional and solemn”
He even has his own website dedicated to his Minister/Officiant Services: CeremoniesByRick.com
Rev Rick is also a member of the International Association Of Professional Wedding Officiants
Cavender Castle is Pet Friendly! Over the years we have incorporated many, many dogs and other pets into our wedding ceremonies.
Meet Pearl, a ten year old rescue with probable Corgi bloodlines. She is also Rev. Rick’s closest adviser and constant companion!
Pearl is the leader of our Cavender Castle Welcoming Committee. She manages the younger members of pack, Jed and Diamond (both are also rescues). For those of you who are dog lovers you will probably have Pearl, Jed, and Diamond meet you at the front door and welcome you to The Castle.
If you have a canine of your own, Pearl invites you to bring your four legged companion to The Castle. We even have a world class 800 sq ft kennel that is perfect for all the dogs to run and play while the humans are doing their thing.
The History of Cavender Castle:
Once Upon A Time…
There was an Atlanta based family who dreamed of owning their own winery in North Georgia.
This was back in the late 1980’s before there were wineries in this part of the country. So they did their research and learned that Dahlonega and the surrounding areas had the perfect soil and weather for growing grapes that could produce fine wines.
So they purchased nine acres of land in the Cavender Creek area just outside of Dahlonega, started their plantings, and drew up plans for the winery. But what to build?
Soon they thought back to a family vacation to Scotland and a really cool castle the family stayed at. They pulled out their family photos and decided their winery would be a replica of that castle. Cavender Castle was born!
The first bottles of wine were produced around 1994 and Cavender Castle was sold to the Phillips Family who expanded the property to include guest rooms and B&B. In the late 90’s rare root disease destroyed the grape vines and the Phillips were ready to retire.
In late 1999 the Durham Family bought the property and used it as personal residence. The kids, Delaney and Spencer thought it was pretty cool to live in their very own Castle! The Durhams always did lots of entertaining, And with Rick’s background in the food and beverage business they decided to re-open Cavender Castle as a fine dining restaurant and night club.
In 2003 they did their first wedding for a friend not know where it would someday lead them. Word of mouth spread and they did another wedding, then another. Soon they had to make a decision to make… are they going to be in the restaurant business or wedding business? Wisely, the Durhams decided to focus on the wedding business and have become one of the busiest venues in North Georgia!
Today they offer three outdoor ceremony sites along with an indoor back up plan. All food is prepared on site by Rick’s hand picked, friendly staff. And, Cavender Castle has developed a well earned reputation for “Royal Weddings that are not a Royal Pain!”
Want to learn more about Cavender Castle? Check out these links:
- North Georgia Wedding Venues
- Dahlonega Wedding Venues
- All Inclusive Wedding Venues in Georgia
- North Georgia Weddings
- Wedding Packages in Georgia
Ready to take the next step?