A Conversation with Sylvia Weinstock, Part IV

Sylvia Weinstock browses a copy of Perfect Wedding Guide
Sylvia Weinstock flips through Perfect Wedding Guide
Photographs by Tommy Martin
Tammy Elliot, President of Perfect Wedding Guide, recently sat down for a conversation with Sylvia Weinstock. Sylvia Weinstock Cakes has been creating cake masterpieces since the mid 70's. She has attracted a star-studded clientele that includes Ron Howard, Robert De Niro, Liam Neeson and Mariah Carey, to name just a few.

Part I of the Sylvia Weinstock interview
Part II of the SylviaWeinstock interview
Part III of the Sylvia Weinstock interview

Below is Part IV of the interview.

T: How does Sylvia relax?

S: Vodka. On the rocks. I have a lot of friends, and grandkids I see periodically. I have a roof garden, and I go up to and have a drink and listen to classical music.

T: Have you had any real — for lack of a better term — bridezillas? Have you ever had anyone who was really difficult to work with in wedding planning?

S: We have had brides that are challenges. Let’s put it that way. When you see a lot of interplay between a bride and her mother, or a bride and groom, you might have difficulties. But then sometimes they are appreciative, so you never know.
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T: Have you ever decided that it wasn’t going to be worth it to work with someone?

"We have had brides that are challenges. Let's put it that way..."S: No. That’s the old school teacher in me. Figure it out, make them love you. Make it work. It is tempting sometimes when someone is calling ten to twelve times, because they are so insecure about what they are doing. I say to them, just relax, go get a manicure. Let it go. You have hired professionals to do this for you, and you are not enjoying this at all. There is something wrong. Go take a walk.

T: Is it important for your clients to meet you, or that they want you to be involved personally?

S: We have a great team here and they can meet any one of them. I have people who have been with me for years.

T: Where do you fall in the spectrum of budgets?

S: There are many different levels of budgets. We are both national and international, and are probably top of the budget. And worth it.

Sylvia's clientele have included Mariah Carey, Ron Howard, Robert De Niro and more.
Sylvia's walls include wedding cakes pictures and letters from
celebrities she has served.

T: And you have enough of a reputation now that people know.

S: They are going to get the best there is.

T: I’m not going to ask you specifically how much your cakes cost because I know you don’t answer that question.

S: I don’t and I have two answers for that. Brides usually tell their girlfriends it costs more and their husbands or their families less. Also, you’re dealing with the mentality of, ‘what do you need it for?’ It is not need, it is a want. Weddings are a luxury. If you really have no money, you go down to city hall and get a license and get married. You have a hot dog from a stand on the corner and you’re married. Or you could do it at home, at the beach, as a destination wedding. But you can also go to the biggest hotels and private clubs and do it up grand. It is a matter of choice and how you want to spend whatever money you have. Some people want to spend their money in this way, and others feel it is unnecessary and they have 15-20 people at their wedding and send out an announcement afterwards saying we are married.

T: It is really to each their own. And as I like to say, all brides are high-end somewhere.

S: Exactly. When I married we were two college students and we didn’t have any money. So we had a ceremony, a glass of wine, and a piece of honey cake and that was it. No wedding cake. And it has not spoiled the marriage.
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T: How many years?

S: 58 to the same person. I know people that have been married about 50 years to three husbands. Just add them up. It makes my day when I hear from a happy bride. You put a lot of yourself into anything you do, and you want it to be recognized on the other end. Sometimes we send a cake out and I say boy, this is so gorgeous; I hope they appreciate it. Most of the time people do. We hear from them and they say, I don’t know how to thank you enough, it was just wonderful. You do miss, in thirty years of business, once or twice but that is not a bad record.

T: It’s bound to happen once in awhile.

S: Well I think we have done well and you are as good as your last act.

T: Well, you are delightful and easy to talk to, and I think that lends a great deal to your reputation and success.

S: I don’t think anybody should be too full of themselves. We are all basically the same whether you put your shoes on sitting or standing. When I was a little girl, I was told certain situations or people or stores were very fancy, and you know something, forget it. It doesn’t mean anything. It is what you think about yourself, your sense of confidence, who you are, and what you are. Everybody is basically the same. PWG
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Read Part 1
Read Part 2
Read Part 3