Rev. Rick’s Associate Officiants & Ministers:


I am proud to say that I officiate around 250 weddings per year which keeps my calendar pretty full.   Nothing makes me sadder than having to tell a frantic couple that I am not available to do their wedding.


So, I have enlisted the assistance of some of my family & friends to officiate weddings that I am unable to do.    And, to make things easy,  I can handle the booking and payment of these officiants for you.   You can  even use my Online Ceremony Builder to design your ceremony.


Everybody wins!   You get a great officiant who meets my high standards with no hassle.   And my officiant friends stay busy.   Cool huh?




Meet Reverend Birdie James


Birdie is the newest member of the Durham family having married Rick’s son Spencer last year.   While dating Spencer Birdie was a regular staff member at our Cavender Castle venue.  Over the years she assisted with decorating and photography.   During that time she witnessed Rev. Rick officiating many, many ceremonies.   Rick saw her interest and encouraged Birdie to make the leap into officiating weddings on her own!


Rev Birdie James with couple (600 X 400)  \Birdie James with couple (400 X 600)

She comes with strong background in performance art and public speaking.   Officiating weddings has been a natural fit for her personality and skill set.   Ordained by the Universal Life Church she conducts contemporary and traditional Christian wedding ceremonies.   Birdie is also a specialist that we go to for civil (non-religious) ceremonies, same-sex marriages, themed weddings, and eclectic off-beat type ceremonies.  





Meet Reverend Kees DeVente:


Over the past fifteen years in which I have served as a wedding minister, I have performed hundreds of wedding ceremonies in many different scenic mountain settings ranging from wedding venues to state parks, private resorts or homes. The ceremonies have ranged from the traditional Christian to the more secular depending on the wishes of the couples. I have been an ordained Presbyterian minister since 2002.   For 10 years I served as Spiritual Coordinator/Chaplain for a boarding school in Dahlonega, Georgia.


Rev. Kees DeVente

Rev. Kees DeVente


Currently, I am a full-time high school educator, teaching and mentoring in Gilmer County. I have also served for many years as an Adjunct Professor at Reinhardt University in the Religion Department.


I am married and my wife and I have a eight-year old son. We live in Ellijay, GA. I really enjoy living among the friendly people and in the beautiful scenery of the North Georgia Mountains.


I am committed to making sure that your wedding script is to your liking, and that it suits the joy and the dignity of the occasion, whether there are just a few or many guests in attendance. I truly appreciate each and every couple that chooses to call on me to be their wedding minister.

Wedding Officiants_095

Rev. Kees DeVente officiating at ceremony at Cavender Castle


A personal note from Rev. Rick…

“I have known Kees for over ten years.   In fact, he has been a mentor of mine.   When I was figuring out how to do weddings I used Kees as an example of how to do things right.  He has a calming personality, coupled with a good sense of humor which is a real asset when working with nervous brides and grooms.   And, he is reliable.   In all the years I have known him I have never once had to worry about him showing up late or unprepared.    Kees is a first class professional, and is a great choice for your wedding especially if you are looking for a traditional Christian ceremony.”  



Rev. Dr. Betsie Poinsett:

Rev. Dr. Betsie Poinsett has been an ordained non-denominational minister for over 15 years officiating hundreds of weddings all over North Georgia.  She is available for Weddings,  Renewal of Vows and commitment ceremonies.


Dr Betsie


Personalized Services Include:

  • A meeting with the bride and groom to discuss wedding plans and ceremonial needs. We can meet in person or this can be done via e-mail, letter or phone. Rev. Dr. Poinsett provides you with several pages of vows and ceremony ideas.
  • Works with you and any other wedding professionals to make sure that your wedding is truly a special day.
  • Takes care of legal paperwork after the ceremony to make sure your marriage is officially recorded.

“Your wedding ceremony is life changing.  Let’s make it special together!”




Hi Betsie! I just wanted to say thanks again for coming through in such short notice. We really appreciate you being there and the ceremony was perfect, absolutely perfect. 

Ivy and James
Rev. Betsie, 
Thank you so much for performing our wedding ceremony.  It was absolutely perfect and we are both so pleased at how everything turned out!  I appreciate you coming out in the heat for us.  I really appreciate all that you did!   Leigh 
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