I did a 4 tier (12, 10, 8, 6") round wedding cake for a wedding on 8/1/09. It was very basic, buttercream smoothed with a few dots scattered and the bride provided fabric ribbon in her color choice to go around the bottom of each tier.
She also ordered a grooms cake - 2 tier (10, 8") to be frosted in buttercream and the entire cake was to be tinted that hideous Univ of Texas burnt orange color along with 3 dozen strawberries dipped in white chocolate and each one piped to have red laces like baseballs have.
Bride wrote on the contract that the event started at 6:30. I arrive at 6:05, set the cakes up, arrange the strawberries on the grooms cake which would only hold 18 of the strawberries, so I put the extras on a platter. The event coordinators watched me arrange and set up and I was back on the road by 6:15 pm.
Mind you this wedding was 8/1/09. I got a phone call this afternoon - today is 8/18/09 - from the bride with a myriad of complaints: her cake was leaning, it wasn't smooth enough, it was late arriving, the groom's cake was "neon orange" and not all the strawberries were on the groom's cake, why were there strawberries on a platter, etc...
It's been nearly 3 weeks since the wedding and she just now calls me. She actually wants a refund of this cake! I can't decide if I entertain this idea or make her prove her accusations.
I normally take pictures of cakes upon delivery, but this was such a cookie cutter cake for me and the groom's cake was not something I wanted to remember (lol!) so I didn't photo it.
Shame on me...guess I learned a valuable lesson there, but after 3 weeks? Really...3 weeks and she thinks she's entitled to a refund???
Like you said Bridezilla now having money spent regrets. If the cake was set up before the reception started and no guest or the bride (party planner doesn't count) didn't see you setting up, then you weren't late. I would not worry about it and tell her to proof what she's saying. Did they eat the cake? Yes! No refund for you!
Tell her to return her cake for a refund She got what she ordered
No refund, no refund, no refund
It has been almost three weeks, if there was a problem she should have said something imediately, or at the very least within a couple of days.
Don't give in!!!
I also had the misfortune of having to make a wedding cake with this color, but it also had OK. red, I didn't take a pic either!!!!
You have absolutely got to be kidding! No seriously. I quit doing wedding cakes for several years because they are all crazy. I agree that if they ate it...they continue to be out the money they paid for it. I make them sign a contract and because I am one of those questionable home bakers without a liscense (my state doesn't require one) my contracts are a bit non traditional. They have to accept going in that I am not perfect and that things happen. If what happens is my fault then I pay. If it is their fault because they are not paying attention to what we have agreed on then they pay. I have warned brides that what they are asking for will look horrible but hey..it's their money and their wedding so I will do it but tell them it will look horrible and when it does and they want to blame me I just laugh. Really. I just laugh. Like I said before though I think they are all crazy. I don't know if it is stress or hormones or what. But I suspect that most of them have a fantasy about how their entire wedding is suppose to be (perfect) and of course as adults we know the difference between fantasy and reality. But for that brief period of time while planning a wedding we take leave of our senses and forget the difference. When the wedding is over and they come back to earth (nothing like getting what you asked for and then saying to yourself...what was I thinking?) they want to blame everyone else for their decisions. I know women who thought they were getting a bargain going with someone who was cheaper than me only to realize they made a mistake in their choice. The ones I feel the most sorry for are the ones who ask themselves that question about the person they married, that they were so in love with before the wedding and now? Maybe the honeymoon was over sooner than she had anticipated and you do know misery loves company. She got what she agreed to and you owe her nothing.
After three weeks? No refund! If something was wrong with my wedding cake, I would have called to complain the very day afterwards. Not three weeks later! In fact, I don't think ANY store (cake shop or otherwise) entertains complaints and returns after one week.
Also, as long as you arrived before 6:30 pm, you weren't late by any means! (Believe me, I live in a country where arriving thirty minutes AFTER an event has started is considered 'on time'. In fact, people here make provisions for those people who arrive 'on time' )
Get witnesses if she complains further
Define "late". Was the cake sitting there when the first guest arrived? Then you weren't "late". DId the cake's arrival time cost her anything, such as delayed photo's which threw the photog into overtime; caused a problem that prevented the DJ from setting up on time, blah blah blah? Then she suffered no financial loss due to the cake's arrival time.
What kind of reaction did she have when you pointed out that all of the berries wouldn't FIT on the cake? If her reaction was anything besides "Oh ... I didn't realize that", then she's just huntin' for a reason to recoup some cash.
Definitely to late! Bet she overspent and is looking for ways to get some $$ back.
I mean I'm even looser with my definition of on time. Typically I deliver 2 hours in advance of wedding/reception. And oftentimes then there will be guests milling not always but not unusual for them to be present. Like the spouses of wedding attendants often have nothing else to do along with out of town guests. I mean if the cake gets there before the wedding ceremony has concluded, I'm golden--probably stressed out of my gourd if I have to cut it that close but no failure.
I can only remember once when I was "late late" by this definition (duly noted that memory is thankfully selective) but this 70 year old sweetie was getting married and she forgot to notify me that she changed the time of her wedding.
I don't think this bride has a legitimate complaint--seems nitpicky.
As a last resort tell her you'll give her a 10% off a future order, snail mail it to her in three weeks--be completely booked if she every tries to redeem it and life goes on.
just to be awkward, there is always the argument that she may have been on her honeymoon. and as your contract is with her (and grrom), you can not deal with her mother, or whoever, to resolve the issue. and if her honeymoon was right after the wedding, i doubt she'd call you from the air port.
did you address the issues when she phoned? such as, did someone else move/ damage it?
refund - probably not, thats up to you. but for a quiet life?
vouchers - well, then you would have to work with her again. but it is a gesture, and hey, brings in more money if she uses it.
it doesnt really sound like theres anything concrete in her complaint, its just being nit picky.
well, i do agree that maybe she was on her honeymoon. But i also, think that unless she comes up with some proof then no refund.
Even if she were on her honeymoon, surely it would have been advisable for the party planner to give the OP a heads up that there will be a complaint coming, as I'm sure the bride will have b*tched to her about it? I would have thought that was part of her job, but what do I know?!
I wouldn't give her anything...
even if she was away on a honeymoon,(if thats the reason why she's late calling you) and if the cake was that bad she would have had somebody contact you right away.
I think she is just looking for extra cash.
I love making wedding cakes, just not the brides... lol
It sounds like a lovely wedding cake. That orange for UT is hard to achieve. My cousin's son went there and his grooms cake was an armadillow in that orange (very strange cake indeed).
I just don't understand these complaining brides. Even if she spent too much money, how is that the baker's fault. Do you know if she's pulling this on any of the other vendors?
No refunds for her.
Thank you though for reminding us that even if it's a "simple cake", we always need to take pics.
It never would have occurred to me to ask for a refund on anything from my wedding. I did complain about my flowers (which fell apart as I was going up the aisle) but I didn't ask for a refund. Maybe I was just so happy that I had a wonderful wedding, had many people come so far for it and that I had married the man of my dreams. I can't help but think these "Bridezilla" shows are contributing to this. Maybe I'm wrong but I don't think so.
I think the onus is on her to provide you with proof that the cakes were as bad as she says.
No proof = No refund (even Judge Judy would agree!)
I just do this as a hobby, but if I were in your shoes I would not refund without proof.
Ask her for pictures of the cake "leaning" or find out who her photographer was and see if you can get copies of the cake for your album. The couple of ones I have talked to were more than happy to especially if you tell them you will give them credit for the pictures on your website or in your book.
just my thoughts...
Don't have any personal experience with this, but I've read several other threads about contracts and many CC members have a deadline for making complaints/requesting refunds. You may want to consider adding a clause like this to your contract.
I haven't been a member of CC very long (just a newbie!) but after all the bridezilla posts I've read you can be sure I won't be doing wedding cakes! If and when I do start selling my cakes, I just might prepare a 'personality profile' form for each prospective client, rate them 1-5 on a PITA scale and upcharge accordingly!
This doesn't really help you now (although I don't think she gets a refund btw), but it's because of these kind of situations and a major PITA bridezilla I had recently that I added a "due process' section to my contract that basically states that all complaints must be made within 48 hours of the reception and that only complaints from the bride will be addressed.
JoJo--a very small percentage of brides are difficult. Very few if any of my clients have ever been difficult from my personal business. But I've worked for many other people and bridezillas do exist but they are a very small percentage. Often in a wedding, there's enough vendors to spread it around if you know what I mean.
I did have one mother of the bride to whom I finally said that she should look elsewhere for a cake maker. But that brought her back to earth sort of--and she stopped beign an idiot and booked the cake--the wedding did not take place as planned and I retired in the meantime.
But that just made me understand how important it is to be legal so you have the leverage to push back if necessary. This was like 15 years ago or so. Right after that I retired from cakedom and went on to find my fame and fortune in other lines of work... still looking...
But all that to say reconsider doing wedding cakes. It's a real thrill. Maybe think about doing just one.
K8: Well, maybe my son's ... if he ever gets off his arse!