A acquaintance of mine is a beginning wedding planner. She currently is working with a bride who "didn't want to spend a lot on a cake". Just wanted something "Simple" I was told.
She was referred to me, and I had been emailing with her. She sent me some photos of what she wanted- VERY traditional! I asked how many people she needed to serve. She told me 70, but then said that she wanted a three tier cake- 14", 10" and 6". So I gave her a quote based on what she had asked for- BUT I also asked her if she realized how much cake that was.
She got back to me quickly and said that my quote was too high, and asked what I could give her with only 70 servings. I gave her another quote based on a 12-9 and 6. (70 servings by Earlenes chart)
Again she got back to me quickly- Then asked for me to send her photos of my work. I sent her some photos but Also let her know that i only had one traditional looking cake under my belt. I told her that if she felt that she needed to go with someone more experienced, I would understand.
I don't currently have any of my cakes on the site right now- changed my screen name to protect the innocent.
Then I waited, and Waited- Heard nothing- At this point I figure that she is scrambling looking for another decorator- her wedding is in 5 weeks.
5 days later I get an email asking to meet and have a tasting. I get the feeling that she spent all week looking for someone else to make the cake, but could not find anyone on short notice and at a low price.
I have not worked with many brides, but is it always this way?
My gut tells me tell her that I am now booked for her date.
Am I just being sensitive and freaking out because I don't have a lot of wedding experience?
Any advice would be appreciated.
No, I don't think it is always that way, but it tends to be more common for people just looking for a cheap cake and not concerned with quality. I think if it is stressing you out, I would tell her you're booked. If you're really desperate to get some wedding experience, then take it on, but don't start on the cake at all until she pays you in full - and she wants a testing?? I'm sure you need to let her know that costs $$ also.
It's very normal for brides to price shop... I do recommend that you do some dummy cakes for your photo's and not to let on that you have little experience. The more confident you sound the more the brides will trust you.
Also, you have to know that not all of them will book with you. That's just how it goes. At first it's tough on you but after you do it a bit you just move on to the next one and not worry about the one who didn't book with you.
i agree, most of my consultations are not that way at all. however, i love the bride who wants something simple and it's not. i was asked this week to do a SIMPLE 3-TEIR cake to serve 20, yes i said 20. What are they thinking???
if you are uncomfortable with her, say you're booked, it will only get worse, she will hound you to death and rub you raw. I have had a few to do that, thank God only a few in 10 years.
Thank you all for the advice.
Ladyonzlake- I will take your advice and work on some dummy caked to add to my photos
I definitely agree with not letting on that you're uncomfortable. My very first bride ever asked me the dreaded question "How many wedding cakes have you done?" I am not a liar, so I said.............."None..........I have however done multiple tiered cakes for birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations, aside from why the people needed them there's really no difference" The bride agreed, I wasn't freaked out by her question (well, I was but didn't let on that I was lol) and so she wasn't freaked out by my lack of experience with "wedding" cakes! Turned out she loved her cake, the next bride went with me based on other carved cakes I'd done, and before long I had multiple wedding cakes of all different styles under my belt.
If you have time though, definitely get ahold of some dummies!! I just wish I had the time to decorate my dummies lol
Follow your gut. If you are uncomfortable with the situation, simply tell the wedding planner you are unable to make the cake and wish her luck finding someone else.
As a wedding planner and a caker I can tell you it's pretty normal. For some reason there seems to be two types of Brides..the "I want something that is going to floor them" and the "I really don't care about the cake but know I'm expected to have one"...now in those two categories there are two sub categories...the "I don't care what it costs" and the "I want something that is cheap". In both camps there are brides who wait till the very last minute. As a planner I have learned to make sure a bride books at a minimum 6 months in advance but I know that doesn't really help all that much since some brides will just keep putting it off. SO with this bride, explain that you usually require a certain amount of weeks notice to put a cake on your schedule but since you have her date available then you will be able to add her to your schedule but it will have to be paid in full up front since all of your wedding cakes are due to be paid in full one month before the event...and since she has waited till one month before the event to book you then she will need to pay in full at the time of booking. Now if she balks at this then say, sorry, find another baker...but chances are she's desperate now. Then cover your butt with a good contract and make sure she has the understanding that once you decided upon a design (and a sketch wouldn't be a bad idea here) she will not be able to change it at such short notice. I tell all my brides that they have till the final payment to change their cake (thus giving me 30 days notice of a change) and then after that it's too late. She will be less of a pain if you set the boundries and then stick to them. Good Luck!