This is an email that I am sending my prospective bride:
Let talk price, since I know that is what you are interested in the most. The price includes filling, so it doesnt matter what filling you choose from plain buttercream to the pineapple cream. If you want a good white cake, I would suggest the White Almond Sour Cream for flavor. You can pair any flavor filling with it, and it will taste good.
My thoughts are to do a 3 tier cake with 1 sheet cake. A 16-inch, a 12-inch, and an 8-inch would give you 180 servings, and then if you add a 11x15 sheet that is another 70 servings, which gives you 250 total.
If you want to order 250 servings you can (and that is what I will price quote you), but if you are looking to trim a little money off of the cake, just consider this. If you send out 300 invitations, the rule of 2/3 applies, and you will probably get around 200 people that actually show up. From there you can even take it down a little more, and trim another 25-50 servings off of that number (at your discretion), for all of the people who don't even eat cake at weddings. I'll admit, I am one of them, and who wants to pay for cake that you want everyone to enjoy, and you end up taking home 1/3 of it because no one wanted cake. Ultimately it is you that needs to decide on the amount of servings vs. the amount of people that actually RSVP. I can draft a figure for the 250, but if you only get 200 that RSVP, then that will shoot your price down a little. 3 weeks before the wedding when your final payment is due, is when you give me the final head count. I will price adjust until this time, but any changes after will be at my discretion, depending on how much notice.
The ribbons and flowers I can put on (if you want me to) for no extra charge, but you will have to purchase them, and deliver them to me, again by the final payment.
For 250 servings my quote is going to be $500. With a $25 deposit for plates and supports, that will be returned to you upon return of the plates and supports. This includes delivery, tax, and also placement of flowers (fresh or silk) and ribbon. It works out to be $2.00 per serving.
This is what I am writing to her in an email, does it sound ok? Am I covering all my bases? Am I charging too much? Not enough? This is my first wedding cake, and I am terrified!
Ok... to me it sounds like you are rambling. Trim this down to make it a little less confusing to the bride.
Below is my suggested wording. Following that is some reasoning on why I made certain changes:
I recommend a 3-tier cake consisting of a 16â, 12â, and 8â, which will yield 180 servings. If we add a 2-layer 11x15 sheet cake (70 servings), this will give you 250 servings.
I do not charge extra for filling flavors, so you can select any filling from plain buttercream to the pineapple cream. I would suggest the White Almond Sour Cream for the cake flavor. This cake is very popular and is compatible with almost any filling flavor.
Final headcount is due 3 weeks prior to the wedding and you can adjust the quantity if needed. My experience indicates if 300 people were invited, you will probably have around 175-200 actually attend. Youâll get a better feel for this closer to your date. I am going to quote you 250 servings as âworst case scenarioâ.
Any ribbons or flowers that you want on the cake will need to be supplied by you and given to me ahead of time. I will apply them to the cake at no extra charge.
The price for 250 servings is $500 ($2.00/serving). There is a $25 refundable deposit for equipment (plates and supports). Price includes delivery (within our policy guidelines), taxes and flower placement.
Please let me know how else I can help.
Sound positive and confident. When you tell her what cake sizes, don't offer "your thoughts" .... you flat out be the expert and "recommend" this is what she should do.
Don't go around the bush and behind the outhouse to explain headcount. Short and flat out .... in your experience, this is how the numbers usually work. Since you are offering her the opportunity to change her headcount 3 weeks prior, it's not THAT urgent that she do it now. It's enough to explain to her that she may be able to reduce the headcount down the road. And I never go by the "some people don't eat cake" thing. Because some people have 2 or 3 pieces and you just can't try to balance those. (I also wouldn't be confident of a wedding cake maker who didn't eat wedding cake! I mean, we all know how sick of it we get, but just think about how it sounds to a client.)
I inserted the term "double layer" to describe the sheet cake. Most people I know are used to single layer sheets and to say a 11x15 serves 70 will make them think the pieces are going to be pretty dinky.
Don't tell her "it doesn't matter" what she chooses" re: the filling. Make it positive by telling her she can select any filling she wants!
(without knowing your sales tax rate in your area, you do realize your price per serving is really under $2/serving, don't you?) Divide your $500 by 1.(rate) to get your actual selling price .... if your sales tax is 6%, then you divide $500 by 1.06)
Feel free to totally ignore any of this and go with what feels most comfortable to you!
Ahhh Deb I knew I could count on you. I just should have pm-ed you the email.
I am a wreck! She wants the cake, but she wants to 'save money' by putting on her own flowers and ribbon. <sigh> Which sucks to me cause then I will be delivering a plain old white cake to the reception. Plus, what are people going to think of me, if the bride is putting on her own embellishments? Not to mention, who the heck wants a pitcure of a plain white 3 tier cake in their porfolio? I think I am going to up the price to $600. Tax is going to be about $20-ish, and I hate to say it, but gas prices here have jumped to $3.19 a gal.
$2.25 per serving x 250 servings gives me $562.50. Plus tax is $26.50, which brings to $589, which gives me $11 left over for gas.
Did I mention that this cake is fondant covered?
She wants the cake, but she wants to 'save money' by putting on her own flowers and ribbon.
she SUPPLIES the ribbon and flowers....
and YOU put them on the cake -- otherwise no cake -- can't risk her damaging the structure and causing it to collapse now can we?
omg, you've gotten one of those brides who has been reading the advice columns in bridal magz and websites! "Put the flowers on yourself and save big bucks!" said the large font headline. Geesh!
Sometimes you just have to tell them, "Contrary to what you read in the bridal magz, that is just not true."
I've had them ask me how much would I discount if they buy the forks instead of me bringing the forks. I just tell them that since I buy them in high volume, it just isn't that big of a savings for them, so there is no deduction.
I think the best advice you are giving her is to get control of her headcount and to NOT pay for those who wont' be there.
It doesnt help that I get nervous, and I ramble. When she first said to me that she wanted a 4-inch, a 6-inch, and an 8-inch cake, and then the rest to be in sheet cakes, I about died, I knew there that this was going to be a not so fun first wedding.
I sent the quote for $600. She isnt a friend, so she can take it or leave it. I dont really care one way or another. She isnt going to find anyone else cheaper to do what she wants. I really want the opportunity, but I am not going to put myself in the hole for any cake. I took your advice Deb, and I made it short and sweet. I told your post and added just a couple of things, and sent it off.
I will let ya'll know what she sends me back.
Doug-Thanks for that. I really didnt think of telling her that, but in my head I am screaming no, No, NOOOOO!! Flowers and ribbon are on a cake not only to make it look pretty, but also to hide the imperfections. And I REFUSE to take a cake into any venue, even if its the local VFW, and the guests are all bucktoothed, with little imperfections that I cant hide with ribbon and flowers!
OMG!!! If this cake is covered in fondant, are you making any money off of it at all???
"even if its the local VFW, and the guests are all bucktoothed"
Jayde - you just gave me my first laugh of the day!!
The bride is MIA! No return phone calls or emails. I figured that this would happen.
I mean seriously a cake that feeds 250 for $600?? Come on! After I buy some more support pieces, a sheet pan, ingredients, boxes, a cake plate, get gas, and throw in a few extra dollars for electricity and water I am making a profit of about $60. I added it up.
She was getting a steal! Maybe I should send her the link to the "Make Your Own Wedding Cake -It's Easy" website!
Christeena - I do make my own fondant, but I still have to buy all of the ingredients to do so, so it is a little cheaper.
Oh, my friend, the last thing you want to do is tell a customer you don't eat cake! To them, that would mean that you don't even eat your own cake, and who wants a baker who isn't willing to eat their own cake? And never tell her that people at weddings don't eat cake, even if it's true. What if everyone there does eat cake, and there aren't enough servings? It's not going to come down on the chintzy bride's head, it's going to come down on the baker's head.
And yes, I agree, you are rambling.
If you give her too many less expensive options, you are going to talk yourself out of profit.