Meet Lauren Pietrzyk, Head Decorator at Westhampton Pastry Shop. This pastry shop has been giving brides their dream cakes since 1952! Hear how Lauren has found her sweet spot at this RVA historical staple!

Tell us a little about your company
Westhampton Pastry Shop has been providing Richmond area brides and grooms with elegant and delicious wedding cakes since 1952. We pride ourselves on traditional style cakes with a nod to the modern bride. Backed by years of experience and quality craftsmanship at affordable prices, we invite all brides to visit our bakery so we can help you in the wedding dessert selection process – whether it be wedding cupcakes, single-serving tarts, petit fours or even cookies.

How did you get started in this business?
I was looking for a creative outlet, so this was the perfect job to combine my artistic passion with my love of sweets. Originally I never considered cake decorating and was only drawn to the baking side of the industry. After starting my career as a front counter girl I began to help out on oddball projects on the back bench, leading to a growing interest towards decorating. My first intricate lesson was from my predecessor, a sweet German lady, on forming a rose sparking my growing obsession. I eventually was able to move from various production jobs to finally becoming the Head Decorator. After a change in management, I was given the opportunity to revamp the Wedding Cake department allowing for an expansion in custom cake designs.

What’s your favorite wedding story?
My favorite wedding story happened this past summer when I had a rare opportunity to engage in the entire wedding cake process, from conducting the consultation to creating the wedding cake all the way up to delivering the cake. Giving consultations is rare for me, so when I walked out into the front of the shop and overheard a couple discussing their cake ideas, I felt the need to jump in. They said, “We’re not traditional so we don’t want a traditional cake”. They wanted something that reflected them. I had a wonderful meeting with the couple and continued to work with them until they had picked their perfect cake. The day of the wedding the delivery person was out so I was able to assist in delivering the cake. When I walked in with the cake I heard an excited gasp. I looked up and there was the bride, so excited there were tears in his eyes. That is something I never get to experience as the couple is not usually there when the cakes are delivered. It reinforced the feeling that what I was doing was really making a difference in someone’s life. Hopefully every time they look at their wedding pictures they will have the same feeling I do when I think back on this experience.

Why do you like working with weddings?
I enjoy working with weddings because it is usually the best day of a couple’s life, short of any additions to the family. It gives the couple, as well as me, a chance to indulge our creative sides. I enjoy giving people something that not only looks good but tastes great as well.

What is the most difficult situation you have faced with a bride and how did you resolve it?
I had a bride that wanted a very elaborate cake but had a very small budget. I had to work with the couple closely for several weeks but was able to create a cake that was exactly what she envisioned. She later called to say how much she appreciated our time and efforts and how much she enjoyed the cake.

From a vendor’s perspective, what is the one best piece of advice you can offer to engaged couples?
Be open-minded. A picture is worth a thousand words. Let the decorator/ artist help you realize your vision. It’s what we do.

How far in advance should couples book your services?
For larger cakes, we ask for at least two weeks notice and for smaller cakes we can do as little as one week out.

What inspires you the most / where do you find inspiration?  
I am currently absolutely in love with Korean flowers. This is a style that was created in Korea, where decorators try to create the most realistic buttercream flowers as possible and artfully arranging them on the cake as a florist would arrange them in a vase. Resulting in a one-hundred percent edible floral display. I follow Instagram accounts @like the_floria and @KimnCake for such inspirations as well as like every female does Pinterest.

What do you like to do when you are away from work?
I’m an avid hiker. I love the outdoors. You will most often find me on a trail at the river with my dog close beside me.

What would we be surprised to learn about you?
I am a lot younger than most decorators in my profession. I also enjoy hunting.

You can learn more about Lauren and all the sweets Westhampton Pastry Shop offers on their website.