WESTCHESTER COUNTY & HUDSON VALLEY WEDDING GUIDE

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Sylvia Weinstock: "Queen of Cakes"

Sylvia Weinstock’s cakes have been star attractions at the weddings of Donald Trump, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Michael Douglas, Liza Minelli, Bryant Gumbell and even the Saudi Royal Family. And one of her world-renowned creations could help light up your Westchester Wedding.

Speaking to Weinstock is like talking to a wise friend or family member – she is generous with her good advice and the emphasis is on love and celebration. When asked what she would advise couples planning their weddings, Weinstock said, “Don’t stress out, and stay on budget!”

How to stay on budget? “I believe in quality food, but we should serve less. You don’t need a two-hour cocktail hour and then a three course meal,” Weinstock said.

As to “keeping up with the Joneses”, Weinstock will have none of that. She said, “A wedding is about two families uniting and sending out their children in celebration. You really love these kids and you’re there for the joy, not for the food. If the food is good, that’s an extra bonus – it doesn’t have to be caviar. If you have to borrow or give up the down payment on a car or house to pay for the wedding, something is wrong.”

Some of Weinstock’s tips and ideas for keeping down the cost of the wedding:

  • If you have the reception at a hotel, use their table linens – don’t rent!
  • Use a grouping of potted herbs as an elegant table centerpiece – then let them double as favors for guests to take home
  • Instead of having a band playing all night, have a string quartet play to accompany cocktails and dinner, then have the band or DJ come on after dinner is over
  • Serve what you can afford. If you can afford chicken, serve chicken – you don’t need filet mignon to celebrate

Added Weinstock, “How about a buffet? You can sit where you want, get up when you want, change your seat if you want, pick what you want on your plate. We have to change our way of thinking, we don’t have to show off or be competitive. We’re just bringing our friends to celebrate. You’ve got to be comfortable in your own skin.”

Aside from her sound advice and concern, Weinstock offer cakes that are by no means ordinary: all icing is made from butter cream; all flowers are handmade of sugar; and no fondant (a creamy sugar paste used in icings) is used on any cakes – Weinstock doesn’t like the taste of it and won’t impose it on her clients.

What does it take to have the cake designer to the stars make your wedding cake? Prices start at $10 per portion, and you should contact Weinstock as soon as you have some details of the wedding nailed down. Here are some details you should be prepared to give her:

  1. The season of the wedding
  2. The number of guests expected
  3. The location and mood of the wedding (minimalist and modern, outdoors, traditional English, etc.)
  4. Will it be a lunch or dinner reception

Weinstock creates cakes as part of the overall wedding “statement” – each is designed to coordinate with the theme and mood of your celebration.

Weinstock’s unique creations have ranged from the whimsical to the magical. She recalls a client with the last name of “Hippo”, who ordered the bride and groom carved to look like two hippos, all in sugar! Another client, with the last name of Simpson, had their cake adorned with hand-molded replicas of TV’s notorious Simpson Family rendered in sugar. One Japanese bride ordered a cake with a Ming vase filled with water bamboo – all edible sugar. Another wedding had a Hawaiian theme, and Weinstock created a realistic Hawaiian setting, complete with marzipan bamboo. Other interesting designs have called for replicating houses and greenhouses on cakes – all edible. Every part of every one of Weinstock’s cakes is edible.

Weinstock emphasizes that a wedding should not be a competition about who can afford a bigger party. She advises, “Have a wonderful party to celebrate with your friends, don’t worry about impressions. Your guests are honored to come to your event. You’re inviting the people you love to share in your happiness. If they come with a full and open heart, they will share. If they come to criticize or with an attitude, they’re there to see if you can afford more or less. A great jeweler once said, if you want to show off how expensive a piece of jewelry you can afford, just wear a check.”

Weinstock’s team includes 16 full time cake designers and bakers. When asked about her staff, she said, “They are here to stay. We are a destination shop.” If you’d like to make Weinstock Cakes your destination for a wedding cake, visit her web site or call her at 212-925-6698 to make an appointment.

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