Together, they've got weddings covered from start to finish. Daughter Ellen does the invitations through her New York City-based company Ellen Weldon Design, and mom Sylvia handles the cakes through the famed East Coast bakery, Sylvia Weinstock Cakes.
But to call their fab creations simply "cakes" and "invitations" doesn't do them justice. You'll see what we mean once you take a look .... And whether they're making things for Oprah or Whitney Houston, the pair is incredibly down-to-earth and has some great advice for every budget.
momlogic sat down with this dynamic mother-daughter wedding duo that's been taking the industry by storm for the past 30 years.
momlogic: What inspired each of you to get into your respective businesses?
Ellen Weldon: When I was working in the stationery department of Cartier, people would ask for help with the cards they purchased. I had studied calligraphy, and although it was a hobby, I thought I could help these people.
Sylvia Weinstock: I love to entertain and to cook and bake. My special desserts always got a great deal of attention and praise. I started by baking for local restaurants in upstate New York, where the family skied. As my skills developed, the cakes got more complicated. And so I started a business in New York in the '80s.
ml: How has wedding etiquette changed from one generation to the next?
EW: Now we do gay weddings. We do third and fourth marriages, and even include parents' partners (married or not) if the bride and groom want to honor them by including their names.
SW: Wedding etiquette has changed throughout the years. We now have an older bride, more sophisticated and in charge of her event.
ml: What has been the best part of working some of the same events together? We're sure you've had some memorable moments ....
EW: My work is at the start of the event, and my mom's cakes finish it. Frequently, I am not at the affair, but often, she has to be there to set up. The most memorable one was Whitney Houston's wedding to Bobby Brown. The late Robert Isabell did the decor, and my team and I were there to help set up the menus and the seating cards. Mom's cake was over six feet tall, and many, many layers-- all in shades of lavender. We both enjoyed that day!
SW: Ellen and I refer clients to each other as we deal with a high-end [event]. We work well together and share info as it relates to the needs of the client.
ml: Your work ranges from the simple to the extravagant. Tell us about your approach to both.
EW: A single card with envelope is the most simple. The most extravagant would be a silk-covered portfolio with crystals and beading that opens up to reveal the weekend of activities.
SW: As to simple versus extravagant, that is in the eyes of the beholder. You can see the difference and decide for yourself which is which.
ml: As a mother, what advice would you give your child as they plan for their own wedding?
EW: My advice is to go with the kind of wedding you really want to attend. Don't go for large crowds if you don't want it. Go for a destination wedding if that's what you have always dreamed of.
SW: As a mother, my advice to a bride is to invite the people you want to know 10 years from now. It is not payback time.
ml: Many couples think that if they're on a budget, they can't have the wedding of their dreams. Truth or myth?
EW: Myth. You can have parts of the dream. Maybe not all of it.
ml: What's the one piece of advice that you would give to couples planning their wedding in today's economy?
EW: Do not go into debt for a wedding. It's not worth it. There is life after the big day.
SW: Yes, do not go into debt for a wedding. Do not think that you must compete with others for your reception. Remember: It is a five-hour celebration. It is a wedding, not a marriage.
ml: Sylvia, you just finished making a fabulous cake for O Magazine's tenth anniversary. Tell us about it.
SW: Making cakes for celebs is no different than for any client that wants a special cake. The cake we designed for O was in honor of the magazine's tenth anniversary; the daffodil is the flower for that anniversary. Perfect: Happy yellow for spring!