I'll try to keep this as short as possible...I just need some advice on how to handle this situation. A cousin of mine was supposed to get married back in April, just a very small family wedding with a small reception. So in February I offered to make a small cake as their wedding gift. Well life happened and they weren't able to get married until this past weekend and ended up going to Vegas. She comes to me a couple of weeks ago and says they are having their reception on October 4. (Same day as my son's birthday party for which I have to do a cake...but nothing I can do about that.) And now it's at a community center and the whole town is invited!
So anyway, back in July I did a wedding cake for her new husband's daughter under the agreement that they'd pay me $50 for the ingredients. I did a cake for my grandma the same day and my dad paid me $50 for that one so I came out even on my ingredients for the two. Well months later and I'm still waiting on the $50 for the wedding cake. She kept bringing it up so I honestly thought the money was coming. I didn't want to push it, just as long as I had it in time to use it for supplies toward her cake. She also cuts our hair, so my husband had gone to get a haircut last week and came home saying, "She said she'd just start taking our hair cuts out of the $50 until we're even." So there goes that $50! (And with the prices she charges it will take us months to use up $50 in haircuts.)
I sat and figured the cost for her (now much larger) cake and it's going to be about $150. I was okay with the $50 on top of the $100 I made back from the other cakes but now I'm looking at $100 out of my pocket for a cake 3 times as big as the one I promised. I do freelance work and it has really slowed, and my husband's company just cut back to 4 days a week meaning no overtime. I honestly just cannot afford the expenses of this cake with the position she has put me in. But the reception is only a few weeks away.
What on earth should I do? I know what I NEED to do, I NEED to tell her
I just can't afford it and she needs to come up with something else. But realistically I know that she can't get that style of cake around here, and certainly not with only 3 weeks notice. I've already cut the idea of the custom bride and groom topper she wanted, but really I don't know where else I could even cut costs. I'm just totally at a loss on this one. Either way I'm going to hurt someone's feelings or go broke trying to protect them. I'd appreciate any advice you guys can give me! Preferably before the stress eating makes me bust out of my jeans here! hahaha
What about making a smaller tiered cake and some extra sheet cakes for the extra servings and then you're going to have to tell her.......I am so excited about doing your cake but because of business slowing, etc. etc. I don't have the money to make it for nothing....then tell her the ingredients will be about $150.00 and you'll need it before you can get started because you DON'T have the money and that the labor will just be your gift to her for her wedding!
I would just tell her that you need the $150 up front, that you would be glad to do the cake, but business is business. Tell her you don't expect her to cut your hair for free, you are glad to pay her for the training that SHE has, and she needs to do the same. If you want, tell her that you can do the cake that you said you would, for the $50, but you cannot do the larger one for free. Be firm. Times are tough for EVERYONE and she will not be able to find a better deal.
I would tell her that the cake you promised way back when isn't going to be enough for the newly planned reception and if a bigger cake is desired more moolah is needed. Or ask her if she is planning on subsidizing the servings with cake from someone else 'cause the one you promised isn't going to be nearly enough cake.....
I would just be honest with her and tell her that you would be happy to make the cake that you originally planned to make for her April wedding. You simply cannot afford to make a large cake and you are strapped for time doing your son's cake. Suggest that if she needs more cake than what you are bringing then she should buy some sheet cakes at a local bakery.
Don't let her corner you into feeling obligated to making a huge and expensive cake just because you offered to make a cake in the beginning of all of this. In her defense, she may not understand that making a larger cake is so much work and requires a lot more ingredients. Try to be matter of fact and unemotional - chances are that she will gladly accept your offer and suggestion.
I wonder if you tell her you need $150 for the ingredients she will respond with "Oh you get them and I will reimburse you" and then maybe she will or won't. I recently did a wedding cake for a friend and gave them the list of the ingredients for the cake and included such things as boxes for the sheet cakes. I didn't want any exchange of money and you know, they did the running around and followed my list. It worked out great. Those people appreciated that I was donating my labor and it certainly was a fair thing to ask. Maybe you could do the same.
If I had offered a free cake in April and then she came back to me wanting the same offer in October, the weekend of my son's birthday no less, I would say, "I'm sorry, I am making my son's cake that weekend and I simply can't do both."
Tell her you are happy to make the cake you had originally agreed upon, but that a cake large enough to serve the new number of guests is impossible considering your new financial situation. And remind her she never repaid you for the last cake, despite her offer to "take it out in trade" by giving haircuts. Then hand her a list of ingredients to purchase for you to make whatever size Wedding cake you had previously agreed to make. Also tell her it will be her responsibility to come and help you, because your time is limited on that day due to your son's birthday being on the same day. Tell her you'd like for her to come and clean up after you in your kitchen while you work on both cakes.
If she refuses to buy the supplies, and refuses to give you any of her time, cousin or not, she is not much of a friend but more of a user, imo.
You know how ugly it gets when it's family. Everyone will have something to say if you don't and if you do then someone will still have to talk. Be honest and straight forward, because for some reason we always let family do and say what they please so we don't hurt feelings but who gets hurt in the end....we do. Talking from experience. If you don't want to or just can't afford it tell her and if she's willing to give you some money take and don't think twice but first let her know what's going on with you. Good luck!
Whatever you decide to do, tell her soon, so that she can find another cake maker. I'd make a list of issues and keep them near me when I make the call (or print this thread) to help stay on track. You aren't being unreasonable. She still owes you the other $$, changed the date, and invited the entire town! She can't think that you'll gift her a cake triple the size just for the heck of it! But I'd REALLY emphasize my financial situation, if it were me. Might motivate her to give the $50 to you (doubt it ,though) and pay up for the next one.
(If it were me, I would not do the cake.)
Why don't you explain the costs for the cake, I know in her mind she is thinking, whats a cake, just a few mixes and frosting. It happens all of the time to me, people do not realize how expensive it can be. Itemize everything for her, let her decide where to cut corners, or come up with some cash to off set the increase in size of the cake. Explain your financial situation, i'm sure she will understand.
If the cake is a gift from you, you have every right to decide how big of a gift you will give them. If you orginally told her that you would do a small cake and she changed the plan then she can pay for the difference. If she doesn't want to pay for the larger cake then she gets the smaller one and she can figure out what to do for the other servings.
Your son's birthday is more important than her cake. If you seriously can't do both then you need to tell her that. If you can only do the small cake and your son's then tell her that. Don't shortchange him because she is not considerate enough to ask if you are still available to do it.
I'd also call her up and say, "Thank you for the offer to take the haircuts out of the money you owe me, but I need that money in cash now, for cake supplies (or bills or groceries), not in haircuts later."
It is one thing if you barter before the event and both parties are agreed on it, it is another thing to change the game plan after the fact.
But seriously, I agree with sugarfrosted and all the others along those lines. Some people think caking is much, much easier and cheaper than it actually is. Maybe she just needs to be informed just how much time and money goes into this- if it doesn't work out, she'll definately know because she'll have to at least check other bakers and then she'll be grateful for your offer to do the cake @ cost! Good luck on whatever you decide to do.
Thanks so much for all of the wonderful advice. I know you're all right...now if the CakeCentral store sold backbones I'd be all set!
My cousin called last night to talk about the cake. But not the wedding cake....ohh no she called to ask if I was still making the groom's cake too!!
I just flat out told her no, that I could not afford to make her two cakes, especially with my son's cake having to be done the same day. I sort of elaborated that prices have gone way up and I really just couldn't do it. She said she needed to pay me for the other cake and that she'd try to help on the costs. Sounds great but I'm not holding my breath. Then she sprung the size of her guest list on me. Mind you I live in a town of less than 300 people. Her list? 200!! I simply told her that I would not be able to make cake for 200 people. She was great about that, she understood that since they are serving a big meal that not everyone will eat cake, so thankfully she isn't expecting that much cake now. She mentioned that the groom likes cheesecake so I talked her into buying cheesecakes instead of having me do a separate cake. She was also okay with me not making the topper so that's another load off of my mind. All in all it sounds like it kind of worked itself out, assuming I do see the money she is promising. Time will tell I guess!
Thanks again for helping me through my panic attack! You guys are great!
"I figured iit out and the cake that I will be able to make for you will feed X amount of people and cost X dollars. I need the cash by X or I cannot make the cake."
Now, CASH MONEY in hand, or you do not even start making the decorations.
LOL! You are killin' me with the backbone picture.
How's this for a kicker? She just called me again and asked me to do her invitations.
I think I may end up in the looney bin when this is over. hahaha
E-mail her the directions to Sam's club where she can buy a cheesecake for $10 and a sheet cake for $22.............problem solved.
Don't take money out of your house cash flow for this or any cake if you can't afford to. If you don't train your family now they'll keep taking advantage of you, they always do.
BTW....I'm a hairstylist in my daytime career and it's a hell of a lot easier to do a free haircut and lose $25 than it is to make a wedding cake. So you're definitely on the losing end here, just my insiders opinion. (and she doesn't need to buy any ingredients either, so no out of pocket costs for her)