Do Any (Non-Catering) Cakers Provide The Cake Table Linens?

Business By MikeRowesHunny Updated 10 Aug 2009 , 10:05pm by indydebi

MikeRowesHunny Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 11:29am
post #1 of 18

I was wondering if it might be a smart thing to invest in a good quality white tablecloth to put on the cake table before I set up (offering it as an option to couples with a small rental charge & deposit)?

The reason I ask is because for the second time on Saturday (and bear in mind i have only delivered & set up 8 wedding cakes!), I was presented with a stained ugly tablecloth to set my cake up on. It was a horrid blue & white gingham checked thing with yellow borders and in two places it was badly stained with what I think was black coffee (it was 'clean'). There was no way I could adjust the cloth to hide the stains, and when I questioned the guy about it he said they would just cover the stains with the plates icon_eek.gificon_confused.gif !

The colour scheme of the cake looked off with the tablecloth and was I horrified for my bride & groom that they had their cake set up on this (and the venue's attitude). I did comment to the guy that I didn't think it was very nice for my bride & groom, or my photos, but to say he couldn't care less wpould be an under statement!

17 replies
leah_s Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 11:36am
post #2 of 18

No way. The bride chooses the linens she wants at the venue. They're either included in her rental package at the venue or she gets them from a rental company. It's not my job to second guess her taste in table linens.

MikeRowesHunny Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 11:44am
post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by leahs

No way. The bride chooses the linens she wants at the venue. They're either included in her rental package at the venue or she gets them from a rental company. It's not my job to second guess her taste in table linens.




I think things work differently here, you just get what the venue provide, you don't choose anything or have a say in that kind of thing (no way my bride & groom would have chosen that thing!). Maybe at the very, very best hotels you might, but the venues I have problems with are temporary beach huts (constructed April-October then dismantled year after year), social clubs etc.

leah_s Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 11:54am
post #4 of 18

And brides don't rent linens from a regular rental comapny??? Temporary beach huts? Where the heck are you?

indydebi Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 11:59am
post #5 of 18

I'm a caterer AND I'm "just a cake lady", as many of you are, so I have a foot in both fields.

Even as a caterer, I do NOT include the food or cake table linens unless the bride pays extra for them. And I never even offer the option of linens if it's a D&R (Drop and Run) cake, where I have to either go back to pick up ONE rented linen or depend on the bride to return it. (Not doing that.)

Brides are renting guest table linens anyway, so it's easy for her to get a couple of extra for the food and cake table. Most facilities that I work with provide a linen service anyway so the cost of the venue includes the linens.

I was stupid and bought about a dozen linens at Sam's to keep on hand for smaller caterings, but when I took them to the cleaners (and you have to take them to the cleaners .... your home washer just will not get them clean enough ... I tried.), the cleaning bill is crazy!! It's actually cheaper for me to throw the real linens away and buy new ones at Sam's! icon_surprised.gif My niece, who manages a national chain cafeteria, did the same thing and found out the same cleaning bill shock!

Logically ..... if you buy a cake from Any Bakery, USA, do you expect them to provide linens for the table? Most people do not. They expect a bakery to provide a cake, not the table decorations.

Like leahs, I am not the table decorator. There are people around here who run a business of decorating the reception site for a fee and I'm not one of those poeple. I would never assume to override whatever the bride wants on her table, no matter WHAT my opinion of the covering is.

minicuppie Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 12:08pm
post #6 of 18

I sometimes come accross "uneducated" brides. Those are the ones that have never been to a banquet or fine dining resturant...the ones who don't watch wedding shows on tv and don't go to "expos" or look in magazines. They don't use an event planner. They just want to get married and have a party.I just do my job and shower them with good wishes. I already had my dream wedding.

MikeRowesHunny Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 12:17pm
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by leahs

And brides don't rent linens from a regular rental comapny??? Temporary beach huts? Where the heck are you?




No, not here. I can't speak for what is the norm where you are, but I do know what I experience here. I live in The Netherlands (The Hague to be precise, which is a coastal town hence the temporary beach huts built for the summer season. Very popular places to have summer wedding receptions here.)

I get that what the table is dressed with is not actually my problem, but when a scanky tablecloth detracts from the overall beauty of my cake, I feel it is! Maybe I just shouldn't care, but I do.

Texas_Rose Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 12:19pm
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi



I was stupid and bought about a dozen linens at Sam's to keep on hand for smaller caterings, but when I took them to the cleaners (and you have to take them to the cleaners .... your home washer just will not get them clean enough ... I tried.), the cleaning bill is crazy!! It's actually cheaper for me to throw the real linens away and buy new ones at Sam's! icon_surprised.gif My niece, who manages a national chain cafeteria, did the same thing and found out the same cleaning bill shock!




The reason they charge so much is that they don't fit in the presses at the cleaning plant...unlike hotel laundry facilities where they can iron sheets and similar things, dry cleaners have to iron tableclothes and drapes and things like that by hand.

Just a little bit of trivia for you icon_biggrin.gif When I worked at a cleaners, I got pretty good at explaining why it cost more to clean it than the item had cost new.

indydebi Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 12:31pm
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by minicuppie

I sometimes come accross "uneducated" brides. Those are the ones that have never been to a banquet or fine dining resturant...the ones who don't watch wedding shows on tv and don't go to "expos" or look in magazines.



Uneducated brides fall the other way, too. They've been to the big hotel weddings and assume "Oh the caterer does that!" on EVERYTHING!

They think the caterer sets up the tables and chairs .... no, the maintenance crew does that. They think the caterer cleans up and vacuums after the event ... no the cleaning crew does that. They think the caterer provides the linens .... no, the venue provides that. They think the caterer covers and decorates the tables .... no the in-house event coordinator does that. They think the caterer cues the band (yes, I actually had a bride ask me that. I'm not Ricky Ricardo!) .... no the wedding planner does that. They assume the caterer ALWAYS cuts the cake .... no, only if you've arranged it ahead of time and the cake cutting fee is included in the venue cost. (I know one place that does not cut wedding cakes.)

The caterer provides the food. All other services are an upcharge for add'l materials and labor.

Drives me nuts. They walk in a reception, see everything all done and they think magic fairies swooped in just five minutes before they did and got it all set up. They've no idea of the HOURS of labor involved! (big sigh!)

MikeRowesHunny Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 12:33pm
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas_Rose

Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi



I was stupid and bought about a dozen linens at Sam's to keep on hand for smaller caterings, but when I took them to the cleaners (and you have to take them to the cleaners .... your home washer just will not get them clean enough ... I tried.), the cleaning bill is crazy!! It's actually cheaper for me to throw the real linens away and buy new ones at Sam's! icon_surprised.gif My niece, who manages a national chain cafeteria, did the same thing and found out the same cleaning bill shock!




The reason they charge so much is that they don't fit in the presses at the cleaning plant...unlike hotel laundry facilities where they can iron sheets and similar things, dry cleaners have to iron tableclothes and drapes and things like that by hand.

Just a little bit of trivia for you icon_biggrin.gif When I worked at a cleaners, I got pretty good at explaining why it cost more to clean it than the item had cost new.




How interesting, nice to hear the reasons why! Comparable to factory-made forzen grocery store slabs v. fresh scratch-made cakes. Time = money!

The wedding culture here is very, very different than it seems to be in the USA from what I read on here.
1. You are only legally married at the town hall/ or venue-based civil ceremony. Church weddings do not count in the eyes of the law!
2. Weddings here are comparatively small, rarely more than 50-100 max guests at a reception.
3. Cakes like those we make are not the norm, it's usually some gross dry-sponge cake filled with fresh cream and decorated with marzipan & fresh fruit passed off as a wedding cake - brought out only shortly before cutting. Wedding cakes are not considered the centrepiece of a wedding reception. Thankfully, I live in a high Expat populated area where those Expats want a real centrepiece cake for their weddings that tastes good!

In fact, marriage is not considered that important here. I saw an American comedian (who lives here with his Dutch girlfriend), say that there are only 3 types of people here who get married: 1)The bored with nothing else to do, 2) Foreigners, 3) Gay couples! Never a truer word was spoken! Most people just live together.

miss_sweetstory Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 12:41pm
post #11 of 18

Hey, MRSHunny (glad you kept the avatar),
I've seen this in some of the smaller venues here. I think you are better off simply informing your couples of the issue (with a couple good example photos) so that they can address the issue ahead of time with their caterer. I think a lot of people assume that the caterer will use white table clothes if it isn't specifically discussed.

All other issues aside, getting a single tablecloth back with be very difficult.

miss_sweetstory Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 12:45pm
post #12 of 18

Ooops... I should say that the couple address it with the venue. (As I just learned from Debi!)

Mensch Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 12:48pm
post #13 of 18

I always cover info on the cake table with my couple at the consultation. You'd be surprised at how many people have no clue that a skanky cloth and crappy background can make a gorgeous cake look like a second rate POS. I educate them. I show them pics of cake tables I've fixed, and pics of crappy backgrounds/cloths at venues where I've delivered. They always seem to be stunned at the difference.

That said, I always photograph my cakes at my shop before delivery/pick-up. I got so tired of POS pictures because the couple just didn't care how the cake table/surroundings looked.

minicuppie Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 1:09pm
post #14 of 18

indy...NO wedding venue fairies??? Next you will tell me there is no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny!

leah_s Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 3:33pm
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Quote:



I get that what the table is dressed with is not actually my problem, but when a scanky tablecloth detracts from the overall beauty of my cake, I feel it is! Maybe I just shouldn't care, but I do.




Dude, that's what Photoshop is for!

Carolynlovescake Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 4:59pm
post #16 of 18

I have a list of "extra things to ask your venue" and cake table linens is on that list.

cylstrial Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 5:45pm
post #17 of 18

To the OP - just start discussing the tablecloth issue with every bride. That way if they want you to cover the table, it's in your contract.

indydebi Posted 10 Aug 2009 , 10:05pm
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by cylstrial

To the OP - just start discussing the tablecloth issue with every bride. That way if they want you to cover the table, it's in your contract.




I say discuss it with every bride so they are aware THEY are responsible for the table covering! thumbs_up.gif (I mean, unless you're in the linen rental business.)

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