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About Cavender Castle - Dog Friendly Wedding Venues

Meet Cavender Castle Owners - Rick, Cyndi, & Delaney Durham

Learn about Cavender Castle and the owners The Durham Family.   Read on to find out not just what we do, but why we do it.   See how Cavender Castle is one of the best dog friendly wedding venues.


About us – Cavender Castle


We know you are busy… Career, family, kids, and maybe a dog or two.   And now you need to plan a wedding.  This means finding time to research and visit venues, secure a wedding date, find a dress, plan a honeymoon, hire your wedding vendors… the list seems to go on and on and on!  
Then you have to figure out how to pay for everything.  Yikes!
Shouldn’t getting married be more fun?
Well relax…
You are in good hands at Cavender Castle one of the original North Georgia Wedding Venues
We believe every couple deserves a stress-free wedding that is fun, affordable and memorable.  We are Rick, Cyndi & Delaney Durham, owners of Cavender Castle.   As a family business we have old fashioned values. Things like working hard and doing what you say you will do are important.  
We go our of our way to treat every couple, and their guests like family.   Our preferred wedding professionals are the same people we will hire for our own daughter when she decides to get married.   And, we are one of the few dog friendly wedding venues anywhere!
From your first contact with us, all the way through your wedding day you will be working directly with the owners.  The Durhams personally answer your phone calls, respond to your emails, provide tours and consultations along with  working directly with you to plan all of the important details.  We are one of the few North Georgia wedding venues where you interact directly with the owners through all facets of your wedding.
But don’t take our word for it… Check out our Reviews:  

Meet Cyndi Nichols Durham: 


Cyndi Durham owner of Cavender Castle a North Georgia Wedding Venue

Cavender Castle Co-Owner Cyndi Durham


Cyndi Durham is a self admitted “Wedding Addict”.   She eats, breathes and lives for weddings.  Even when she is away from Cavender Castle she scours the internet for trends and ideas that can help her couples.  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 one the most kid-friendly wedding venues in North 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).   She photographs most of our Elopements 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.   


 Meet Rev. Rick Durham!

Rev. Rick Durham

Rev Rick officiates most weddings at Cavender Castle

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.  


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 250 weddings a year. He designed an 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:



    Rev Rick is also a member of the International Association Of Professional Wedding Officiants


In Rick’s spare time he resuces, fosters, and trains dogs for a “forever home”.   He is a firm beliver that unwanted dogs are a result of poor spay/neuter practices and lack of attention by owners.  Rick says, “I have never met a bad dog, just bad owners”.   His latest rescue “Tootsie” spent nine years in an outdoor pen with minimal food, shelter and water.   With a litttle attention, work, guidance and espcecially love, she has become one of the happiest members our our pack!    Tootsie is just another reason we are one of the most dog friendly wedding venues in Georgia.


 Meet Delaney Durham:

 Photo of Delaney Durham owner of Cavender Castle wedding venue 
Delaney is committed to mastering every facet of the wedding business!  
She has been helping Mom and Dad at Cavender Castle for as long as she can remember.   As a little girl she spent many mornings assisting her mom as she decorated for weddings.
Affectionately nicknamed “Lu Lu” by her Dad, she heads up our company’s social media and customer service responsibilities.  
In 2016 Delaney followed her father’s footsteps by becoming an Ordained Wedding Officiante allowing her to legally officiate weddings in all 50 states.
In 2017 she earned the status of a Certified Wedding Planner by the Bridal Society an international training and certification company.   She is currently working towards a certification as a Senior Wedding Planner putting her in the top 1% of all wedding planners nationally.   Delaney is our lead wedding planner at Cavender Castle.  Her wedding planner expertise is also in demand at other venues throughout the Southeast.
Learn more about Delaney at her website:  
She attends the international Wedding MBA convention every year to stay abreast of the latest wedding trends.  
Plus, Delaney’s youthful outlook, strong work ethic and positive mental attitude make her an crucial component of our long term plans at Cavender Castle and beyond.   She is a rising “Rock Star” in our industry!  
Delaney is also a dedicated parent to her “fur-baby” Tillie a three old Bichon Friese bundle of joy.   Just another reason why Cavender Castle is one of the most dog friendly wedding venues in Georgia!
With her leadership Cavender Castle will continue to be one of the leading North Georgia Wedding Venues for years to come.

Dog Friendly Wedding Venues:

Meet Pearly Baker – Hospitality Director


Dog friendly wedding venues

Pearl heads up our welcoming committee!

Pearl heads up our welcoming committee![/caption]

Cavender Castle is a one of the few Dog Friendly Wedding Venues in Georgia!  


Over the years we have incorporated many, many dogs and other pets into our wedding ceremonies.  When it comes to dog friendly wedding venues we top the list!


Meet Pearl, a 13 year old rescue with probable Corgi bloodlines, plus some Scottie or Westie…  We can’t be sure since she came to us as a young rescue.  But one thing is for sure.  She is Rev. Rick’s closest adviser and constant companion!  You should see them on the beach together or out fishing.   Very few business decisions are made without special counseling from Peral The Wonder Dog! 

Dog Friendly Wedding Venues

Dog Friendly wedding venues



Pearl is the leader of our Cavender Castle Welcoming Committee.   She manages the younger members of pack, Jed, Diamond, Tootsie, and Gravy  (all rescues).   Plus Delaney’ full bred Bichon Friese ‘Tillie” who keeps things lively!   For those of you who are dog lovers you will probably have one of the pack meet you at the front door and welcome you to The Castle.   What else would you expect from one of the most dog friendly wedding venues?


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.


So if plan to include Fido in your wedding be sure to think of Cavender Castle… one of the few dog friendly wedding venues anywhere!  

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!    

Replica of a Scottish Castle... Cavender Castle

Replica of a Scottish Castle… Cavender Castle

  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 tough weather 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!      

Cavender Castle Old World Gazebo Wedding Ceremony Site in Dahlonega Georgia

Cavender Castle Old World Gazebo Ceremony Site

  Want to learn more about Cavender Castle?  Check out these links:


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