Surprise Engagement At Work.....

Decorating By imartsy Updated 1 Apr 2008 , 12:49pm by mbh724

imartsy Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 2:56am
post #1 of 18

So a girl at work is going to be getting engaged April 22 - she doesn't know it though! Her boyfriend actually contacted me and wanted to try and get the other people on our team at work to do something special for her after he proposes.... he said "you could make a cake" which is always the deadly words you hear when you know people want it for free....

What I was thinking was asking my co-workers to pitch in some money to make her the cake and maybe get her some balloons or something.... I'm just not sure if that's okay to do - and if so, how much is reasonable to ask for? Her favorite flavors are Italian Cream and Red Velvet (I know I know - champagne tastes!). I could certainly do something else - or I could just doctor up a cake mix of Red Velvet.... but both require cream cheese icing (in my opinion).

And then there's design - oh what on earth should I do for the design?

So my questions:

1) How can I approach my co-workers (I'm thinking of sending an e-mail) and how much should I ask from each of them? (there's about 20 of us)

2) Design ideas??

17 replies
lisad1 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 5:20am
post #2 of 18

Well call me old fashioned, (and cynical) but shouldn't the boyfriend be the one going through hoops to make her day special? I don't think that really falls under the co-worker category of special days. We already have Birthdays and Holidays covered. I'd tell him how much you charge.
No one should ever ask, with the expectation that it is a gift.

But, if you are set on doing it, make her a cake that big enough for just your team. Word of mouth might be better at work. I work for a company that does not allow solicitation. I had a co-worker who had a heart attack, was out of work for 3 months. Tried to take up a collection, and specifically said that there is no pressure, just let me know if you want to contribute. And HR felt the need to put a note in my folder. tapedshut.gif
So just a caution....

Co-workers are funny people to collect from too, because some actually value your time, and effort and will chip in, while some never do. In the end you'll be making the cake, and still chipping in for balloons!! icon_lol.gif

Whatever you do, keep it on a simple scale.... I can see them asking their friend to gift them with a beautiful wedding cake in the near future.... icon_wink.gif

CarolAnn Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 5:39am
post #3 of 18

I think the boyfriend should be providing the cake since it's HIS big surprise! Geez, it's great of him to ask you to provide the backdrop for his proposal. If you can't swing it alone and you feel obligated to make the cake, I think you ought to talk to him about payment. I would. It's hard to think quite straight when we're caught off guard about some things. I'd approach him with a "now that I've had time to think about this" statement and then suggest he provide the cake for his big do. Stuff like this irritates me.

ErinOBrien Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 5:49am
post #4 of 18

You also need to consider the fact that some people just can't keep a secret. If you tell them what you are making the cake for, someone is going to spill the beans.

lisad1 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 6:18am
post #5 of 18

reread my previous post, and realized I didn't give a very constructive answer to your questions...

As far as the cost of the cake: if you ask the fiance, tell him your normal price. even give him a discount if you want...

If you are asking your peers.. it's fair to ask them for the cost of your ingredients, and the cost of balloons. Not to cover the expense of what you'd get normally. ex. They shouldn't be responsible to pay for a $100
item, that someone else asked you to make.

As for ideas, there were two cute ones that I saw. One was for a ring box by mommymarilyn, but would make a cute topper on any sized cake. The other was for cookies by lola1123

good luck!

Auryn Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 11:06am
post #6 of 18

this is the boyfriend's responsibility not yous.
If he wants you to make a cake he can order and pay for it.

does he want you to ask her for him while ur at it??

imartsy Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 11:53am
post #7 of 18

I do totally understand that it's the boyfriend's responsibility to make this her "special day". I think he was just trying to involve her co-workers in some way. I could tell him that I don't know that I'd be able to make a cake and that I feel uncomfortable asking my co-workers for money..... but I'd still feel bad about it...

At the same time, I'm not making a free cake for 20 people - I've already done that for my own birthday and I made ornament cupcakes (just 12) for our Christmas party. People know what i can do. I've also brought in cake balls and cookies a few times..... I don't know if the boyfriend knows any of that b/c he isn't on our floor.... but he has ordered one cake from me before - so it's not like he's a complete cheapskate or anything....

Anyway, maybe I should tell him I can make something very small for her... I guess I just feel kinda weird if we have a little mini party for her and there's nothing for people to really do or eat at the party.... I figure it would only last about 30 minutes at most..... but I guess he just wanted to do something a little more special than have everyone say "congratulations" from their cubicles....

She is my friend, but maybe I should enlist some help from some others in deciding whether or not we should really have a cake or anything, and if so, how to approach others for a few bucks to chip in.

HerBoudoir Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 12:37pm
post #8 of 18

I would just get back to the bf and give him a quote for the cake icon_smile.gif As your contribution (and make this clear), you may chose to offer a discount.

I honestly don't think it's appropriate for you to go around and solicit people to contribute to pay you to make a cake.

But I hear you about bringing stuff to work. Whenever I take a cake course (doing the Wilton ones now, and I've done cake culinary courses before) or had leftover cake/cupcakes from a function, I've typically brought in whatever I made in class, minus a slice or two. There's only so much of a cake 2 people can eat, so it goes to work to get finished off.

I've had to make very clear - in no uncertain terms - to many folks that I work with that if I chose to bring something in to share, that's one thing. However, if they want me to make a cake for a special occasion (birthday, shower, etc), then I charge. ALOT, compared to what they're used to paying at the grocery store, and even more than the local bakery. And I won't do it last minute - my schedule is too hectic for that.

ElectricCook Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 12:41pm
post #9 of 18

I don't understand why you should feel bad. If he wants a cake he should order a cake from you or someone else and pay for it. Yes it would be nice if the day after the proposal she can celebrate with the office. He should be responsable for the plans. I would stop feeling bad every time someone wants a cake for an occassion that you have to donate (that you pay for because you feel guilty about asking for money). IF HE WANTS TO BE THE MAN THEN LET HIM BE THE MAN!!!. As far as asking your coworkers for money don't get involved. Let him take care of the details and you can provide the support that he needs. He wants you to handle everything because you are the woman and he is just a "helpless" man. That is just my opinion. I am an electrician and work with men only. I am always in charge of the details, food, cake and venue for anything. I get "your a girl you know how this should be done". I have finally gotten over knowing how it should be done after 20 years of this nonsense. It gets old fast.

Just be the support and have him order a cake (pay for it).

jmt1714 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 3:42pm
post #10 of 18

not sure how to break it to the BF - but this is special for them and between them, not for everyone else. IMHO the co-workers shouldn't even be asked to cover any costs or such.

diamondsonblackvelvet13 Posted 31 Mar 2008 , 3:59pm
post #11 of 18

Wow. Just akward all the way around huh?

Momkiksbutt Posted 1 Apr 2008 , 8:58am
post #12 of 18

I agree with CarolAnn......this is the boyfriends job! And make him pay you for goodness sakes!!!

kicky Posted 1 Apr 2008 , 10:35am
post #13 of 18

I'd make him pay what if she says no has any one thought of that then you would have gone to all that trouble for nothing.
Also I would have hatted it if everyone knew before me that my boyfreiend now fiance was going to propose. Keep it under wraps. Let her tell you when she comes in and all arange to go out for a drink after work. Much better idea.

Just my opinion.

imartsy Posted 1 Apr 2008 , 11:35am
post #14 of 18

I think what I'll do is tell him I feel really uncomfortable asking my co-workers for money for a cake for her....... but that if he wants to pay me to make one, I'll make one for him.

I'd still like to do the surprise thing in some capacity.... and I'm 98% sure she won't say no (always like to leave a little room). She and I have been talking and she thinks he is going to propose sometime soon. She has no clue when though. She's just scared of the future and all the "what if's". icon_smile.gif She's a worrier like me! Other than that, I know that she loves him. He really is a great guy.

Ok so last question - if we say "no cake" - does it make sense to have a "party" at all? I'd still like to do something special for her....oh and drinks after work would be nice - but she doesn't drink. And I'm sure she's going to want to spend time with him.

Thank you all for your responses. I knew I could get some help here on the situation!

terrig007 Posted 1 Apr 2008 , 11:40am
post #15 of 18

I agree with Kicky, I would have also hated it if my co-workers knew before I did.
I also think this guy has a lot of nerve though asking you to do it gratis. I would defintely tell him you can do X cake for X price.
On the flip side when I was teaching there was a guy who wanted to propose to his gf at school. He squared it away with the administration and he went into her study hall dressed as a knight (he got the idea from some tv show) with flowers and a ring box. She saw him, got up and ran out of the room. But to top it off the principal had gotten a cake and non-alcoholic cider to celebrate. She took off the rest of the week she was so embarassed by it. She said later that he was a nice enough guy but not her mister right. She married someone else a few years later who asked her on a beach instead of a classroom.

HerBoudoir Posted 1 Apr 2008 , 11:45am
post #16 of 18

LOL Yeah, I thought about that - what if she says no?

Get paid for the cake first icon_wink.gif

vickymacd Posted 1 Apr 2008 , 12:44pm
post #17 of 18

So she says no. Eat Cake!!!

mbh724 Posted 1 Apr 2008 , 12:49pm
post #18 of 18

I agree someone will let the secret out if everyone knows before her. I also could not bring myself to ask people to chip in for a cake I was making - I don't think that will go over big at all. Tell him it's not a good idea to spill the secret ahead of time and let her make the announcement after the fact. If everyone is in agreement with a small celebration afterward, make some pretty cupcakes. There is a really good demo - I believe on youtube - of really pretty cupcakes. I made them and they could not have been simpler.

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