What Would You Tell This Bride?

Decorating By xanikesmom Updated 12 Jul 2010 , 9:26pm by indydebi

xanikesmom Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 3:03pm
post #1 of 33

Background: I had a bride call me about 6 weeks ago asking if I could do a wedding cake for her. I gave her a quote and we went on to finalize the details, however she decided to go with someone else who is closer to her (I live about 1 1/2 hours away). Yesterday I get an email saying that the person in her town backed out last week and she was wondering if I would still do the cake. The wedding is 3 weeks away - luckily I still have the weekend available.

Today as I've been emailing her back and forth, she has decided she does not want to pay my delivery charge, but would like her sister-in-law to pick up the cake the night before the wedding. The cake she has chosen is a plain white, 3 tiered, fondant covered cake with fabric ribbon around the bottom and top tier bases with brooches attached. She wants me to put them in 3 seperate boxes and said they would stack them at the reception site. I let her know that I put a good support system in my cakes and for a 3-tiered there should be no problem with them transporting tiered as long as sis-in-law drives carefully. Nope, she wants them seperate.

So - basically I would just be giving them 3 white fondant covered cakes .. because I wouldn't be able to put the fabric ribbon until they are stacked! Plus - we all know that there is a lot more to stacking a tiered cake then just piling them on top of each other.

I don't know what to tell her - any advice would be appreciated.

32 replies
RubiPumps Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 3:09pm
post #2 of 33

Honestly it sounds like she wants you to make them and someone else to decorate them.

aprilblack Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 3:14pm
post #3 of 33

I dont know if I woud agree to that.. But if she was insistent and didnt want to pay the delivery charge, let her.. If they mess up HER wedding cake then that is THEIR problem.. I would have them sign something when they picked cakes up though stating that you were not responsible for the cakes after they left your hands. How much was the delivery charge?

ddaigle Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 3:19pm
post #4 of 33

I would not let them pick up unstacked. Even if someone else is responsible and wrecks the cake, I would still feel bad that everyone didn't see my awesome cake. She either picks it up stacked (with a signed waiver), or you deliver. That would be my only 2 options...period.

Jenniferkay Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 3:21pm
post #5 of 33

if it's my cake then it needs to be my finished cake. if they botch it up or decorate it themselves and someone knew where they got the cake then it would reflect on you. there is no guarantee that they're going to say...well we picked it up and had DIY moment to put it together, doesn't it look faboosh!? If it were me, I'd say this is how I'm giving you the cake-stacked and finished or you discount your delivery fee so you KNOW they won't get that crafty feeling!

adonisthegreek1 Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 3:22pm
post #6 of 33

I would let her have it her way. I would get all of my money upfront and she'd have to sign a disclaimer knowing that she gets no refunds if they make a mess of the cake. If she doesn't sign a disclaimer well in advance, and you don't get full payment in advance....don't do it.

sullymel13 Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 3:27pm
post #7 of 33

My initial thought was let her take the cakes, and if she ends up with a messed up cake, it's her fault. However, since your name would still be on this cake, it would be too easy for her to blame you for all her woes. That being said, I would tell her she picks it up stacked (with a signed waiver), or pay the delievery charge. It's a quality control issue.

sweettoothmom1 Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 3:29pm
post #8 of 33

oh, i would give it to them separate. even add the ribbon.

cakegroove Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 3:32pm
post #9 of 33

I wouldn't want my name attached to that order because chances are something will go wrong and you'll be the bad guy. There's got to be a reason the other person backed out on her cake. I'd be leary of what that reason was.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 3:34pm
post #10 of 33

I would sell anyone anything as long as it is IN WRITING that your responsibility stops at the door. Do your best with the support and send them on their way. Many people change their mind when it comes to the actual signing of their name on a contract that explicitly indemnifies you from any damage after it leaves the shop. They may decide to pay the fee for delivery then.

FYI - Take a picture with the picker upper and the cake. Good insurance.

destineysway Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 3:48pm
post #11 of 33

lol if u dont mind where are u located, in what state?

Auryn Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 3:51pm
post #12 of 33

I completely agree with matthew.
Also the bride has to be the one to sign the waiver, not the person picking up the cake. Email her the very explicit waiver, tell her she has x number of days to return the signed contract, waiver and full payment to you and you will do her order as she wishes.
Make sure to include a line item in the contract that states that she requested the cake be picked up unstacked- she needs to sign the line item.

Vkandis Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 3:57pm
post #13 of 33

The question is what is ultimately at stake in you letting her pick it up unstacked?

One view might be not much as if you include a good support system then it is no big deal and if something goes wrong it is on them

However simply because you say when they pick it up that you are not responsible for what happens does not mean that you will not end up in the eyes of her guests bearing that responsibility. Sure if while stacking it they ruin it you will have grounds for refusing a refund if they try to claim it--their fault. However that does not stop them from complaining about it (there by assigning fault to you) to their guests. Who are they likely to believe when you are not there to explain it is their screw up that ruined the cake? Your name will be attached to the product no matter what and if they screw it up do what, however many guests, leaving thinking you produce a bad product. Word of mouth is nice advertising and the last thing I think you would want is people potentially bad mouthing your product.

Now do you know what will happen when she picks it up? Of course not, it could end up stacked just fine. However do you want to put your reputation in the hands of her and her relative, or do you want to maintain control over that reputation?

Or just make it simple, you have policies for your business, you are not selling Whoppers, so she does not get to have it her way, and if she is not willing to pay the delivery charge or pick it up stacked then pass on the order. If the worst does happen and people walk away thinking you are the reason for it then you may lose more business in the long run anyway.

Ladiesofthehouse Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 4:08pm
post #14 of 33

My policy is that nobody picks up cakes--period. I don't go to all the hard work of making cakes look as perfect as possible only to have someone ruin it because they are too cheap to pay me to deliver it professionally.

Just imagine your cake showing up on someone's Facebook page after they mess it up. Isn't that what usually happens?

terrig007 Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 4:23pm
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladiesofthehouse

My policy is that nobody picks up cakes--period. I don't go to all the hard work of making cakes look as perfect as possible only to have someone ruin it because they are too cheap to pay me to deliver it professionally.

Just imagine your cake showing up on someone's Facebook page after they mess it up. Isn't that what usually happens?




Or on Judge Judy!?!?!?! She's had a few wedding cake cases and one of them was something similar where a bride picked up a cake and between the bakery or home (sorry can't remember which it was) the cake had a disaster and then the bride sued. She won (bride) though because she did not have the bride sign anything regarding the cake was her responsibility once it left the door.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 4:24pm
post #16 of 33

Hey. People can run their business however they like. I personally think people drive out of car dealerships every day and get in accidents right in front of the dealership. It is not the dealer's fault for not delivering the car.

Occasionally, people with wedding cakes trip and fall. It happens to bakers and customers. If it didn't, what would I watch on Sunday night?(AFV?)

When it comes down to it, this is cake. And wedding cakes are a business. Most businesses need to make money or they fail. If people want to sign a waiver and are clear on the responsibility, go for it. If there was a problem, I would feel bad, but not responsible. Very different thing.

Life and cakes have risks and rewards. As long as everyone is on the same page it can (and does) work out.

Facebook pages be damned.

Donnagardner Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 4:38pm
post #17 of 33

What happens if they decorate it themselves and then pass it off as if YOU decorated it and then everyone thinks your work is on the cake. If they are good it would not be a problem but something tells me it wont be in your favor. I would say NO!!!

Vkandis Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 4:43pm
post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewkyrankelly

Hey. People can run their business however they like. I personally think people drive out of car dealerships every day and get in accidents right in front of the dealership. It is not the dealer's fault for not delivering the car.

Occasionally, people with wedding cakes trip and fall. It happens to bakers and customers. If it didn't, what would I watch on Sunday night?(AFV?)

When it comes down to it, this is cake. And wedding cakes are a business. Most businesses need to make money or they fail. If people want to sign a waiver and are clear on the responsibility, go for it. If there was a problem, I would feel bad, but not responsible. Very different thing.

Life and cakes have risks and rewards. As long as everyone is on the same page it can (and does) work out.

Facebook pages be damned.




Yea it is a business and not all businesses are the same. Dealerships do not deliver cars, it is not standard business practice. Someone leaves s dealership and gets in an accident and then says it is the dealers fault will be laughed at. Even if the car was defective and that was the cause of the accident--that is the manufacturer's responsibility not the dealer.

No matter what you think, reputation matters. And giving someone the opportunity to hurt that reputation by placing control for the final product in their hands is just plain dangerous. They are not driving the cake off the lot they are asking for the ability to finish putting the car together and if they screwed up putting it together resulting in an accident having the ability to turn around and blame the dealer for their ineptitude.

Whether or not you are responsible is irrelevant, whether you have a waiver that says you are not at fault is irrelevant when you have a bride in tears with 100+ guests claiming the reason the cake collapsed when they tried to put it together was because you did not prepare the tiers correctly. Heck I mean all they had to do was put one on top of the other. Now you have 100+ folks plus whoever they tell thinking you are incompetent--but hey you have the waiver right?

Yea people can run a business anyway they want to. That does not mean that every business practice is a good one.

mamawrobin Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 4:44pm
post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladiesofthehouse

My policy is that nobody picks up cakes--period. I don't go to all the hard work of making cakes look as perfect as possible only to have someone ruin it because they are too cheap to pay me to deliver it professionally.

Just imagine your cake showing up on someone's Facebook page after they mess it up. Isn't that what usually happens?




I'm with Ladiesofthehouse! I deliver every cake that I make. Period.

artscallion Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 4:54pm
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vkandis

...

Yea it is a business and not all businesses are the same. Dealerships do not deliver cars, it is not standard business practice. Someone leaves s dealership and gets in an accident and then says it is the dealers fault will be laughed at. Even if the car was defective and that was the cause of the accident--that is the manufacturer's responsibility not the dealer.

No matter what you think, reputation matters. And giving someone the opportunity to hurt that reputation by placing control for the final product in their hands is just plain dangerous. They are not driving the cake off the lot they are asking for the ability to finish putting the car together and if they screwed up putting it together resulting in an accident having the ability to turn around and blame the dealer for their ineptitude.

Whether or not you are responsible is irrelevant, whether you have a waiver that says you are not at fault is irrelevant when you have a bride in tears with 100+ guests claiming the reason the cake collapsed when they tried to put it together was because you did not prepare the tiers correctly. Heck I mean all they had to do was put one on top of the other. Now you have 100+ folks plus whoever they tell thinking you are incompetent--but hey you have the waiver right?

Yea people can run a business anyway they want to. That does not mean that every business practice is a good one.




Yes, a more apt comparison would be if someone asked the dealer to sell them the car in pieces which they would finish assembling at home. Then they go driving around town with the headlights mounted on the hood, shining into their own eyes, are blinded and drive into a building because they put the brakes on backwards.

Folks rush to the scene of the accident, do they say, "look how this idiot put their own car together!" No, they shake their head and say, "Honda quality sure has gone down. Should have bought American."

matthewkyrankelly Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 5:06pm
post #21 of 33

Sorry to upset the applecart. But again, You can run your business however you want. It is not at all like handing someone the pieces of a car. It is two or three tiers of a cake. You do not need a degree or a license to stack a cake. You need skill and ability.

If you want to be the only person who touches your cake. That is OK. Put it in the contract and sell it or don't.

But to advise someone that it is a poor business practice to allow it is ludicrous. It is all a cost/risk analysis. If the customer doesn't want to pay the cost, they take the risk. If you don't want to take the risk with your reputation, build it into your costs.

This is not an argument about who is right and wrong. No one is either. I'm just sayin' get it in writing and don't carry the world on your shoulders about the cake.

Auryn Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 5:21pm
post #22 of 33

No offense to anyone, but the arguments made against allowing the customer to pick up the cake, can be applied just as easily to when you deliver a cake.
Most cakers deliver the cake hours prior to the reception, you are not sitting there watching them making sure aunt mildred doesn't add her "lovely" secret present topper to the cake, or add ribbon or some kind of flotsam.

What I do think that if you allow them to pick it up a day earlier (missed that part before) you also need to make her sign a line item that you are no longer responsible for the quality of the cake because you cannot ensure how it was stored- refrigerated, left in the sun etc, or that it was transported hygienically.
That would worry me more than the whole unstacked business.

If it were me- I would make her sign a release, sign both line items that remove your responsibility from the look and quality of the cake, make the picker upper sign a receipt notice and make them take a picture with the cake (very important)
and tell them good luck

AuntieV2010 Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 5:21pm
post #23 of 33

Have you asked yourself why the other person walked away from the order? This sounds like trouble to me. Run Fast!

catlharper Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 5:28pm
post #24 of 33

Cupcakes, sheetcakes and one tier cakes are the only ones clients can pick up. If it has a second tier or more then I deliver. I have a 25 mile FREE radius for delivery and then a per mile fee after that point...about a dollar a mile for round trip. 25 miles covers almost our entire area so it's not usually an issue but for tiered cakes they pay the delivery fee or they don't get cake. Period. As for those cake items they can pick up...they sign the waiver before leaving with the items and are told before AND during the pickup that my responsibility ends when they leave with the product. Period.

Cat

KimLynnC Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 5:40pm
post #25 of 33

If you have any doubt about letting her take the tiers unstacked then go with your gut feeling.

I think you need to stick to your rules... If you insist that it is stacked and completed when it leaves YOUR business then you need to stick to that... don't let her run the show. If she is too cheap to pay the delivery fee than that is her problem, not yours. I would tell her your rules are your rules and if she still wants to do it her way than I would tell her maybe she needs to find another cake decorator that is closer to her in order to get a cheaper delivery fee.

When it comes down to it this is your reputation on the line. If it turns out bad, then you look bad no matter what kind of waiver is signed.

Melvira Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 6:20pm
post #26 of 33

I have to agree a little bit with the attitude of 'waiver schmaiver'. Yah, that means she can't sue you, but when Little Sally Bride Doll is bawling at the wedding over her hideous cake, your waiver means nothing to the hundreds of people milling around looking at the spectacle. Conversely it might turn out just fine, and there is nothing to worry about. Go with your gut, do what your inner cake master tells you. No one can answer this one but you, unfortunately. No matter what you choose, I hope it all turns out well in the end!

leah_s Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 6:57pm
post #27 of 33

I haven't read all of this, but SPS WAS MADE FOR (literally) this situation. It was developed for bakeries who don't offer delivery so that customers could pick up and transport tiered cakes.

I certainly let customers pick up a three tier, but it's stacked and ready to go when they pick it up. That would be the only way I'd do this, becasue I know it will work fine.

You can even purchase (and charge extra for) the Box delivery system.

xanikesmom Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 7:17pm
post #28 of 33

Wow - thanks for all of the replies! Lots of good advise.

I am going to tell her that the cake will need to be picked up stacked. I don't think she realized that I wouldn't be able to put the ribbon on without the cake being stacked - so handing them 3 tiers of white fondant cake and saying "Here ya go, have fun!" doesn't fare well for me. Obviously people don't know the work that goes into stacking a cake.

I am not sure why the other cake lady backed out. However, the day that she emailed me back was the day I had just done a cake for the same bride's niece's birthday party. I think she saw and had some of the birthday cake I made and decided she liked me better icon_smile.gif

pmarks0 Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 7:21pm
post #29 of 33

I have only done a few cakes, no tiered cakes as yet and I've delivered my own. But I was wondering just how much is the delivery charge that she's balking at? The the grand scheme of things, I would have thought that $20-25 is a small drop in the wedding budget bucket. I understand the desire to keep costs down, but that's not an area I was willing to cut when I was planning my wedding (long before I did cakes).

xanikesmom Posted 12 Jul 2010 , 7:37pm
post #30 of 33

Well, I live 1 1/2 hours away from where her wedding is. So that's 3 hours roundtrip just in driving, plus there's the loading time, unloading time, and time to set up. I told her $50 for a delivery fee which I know is not unreasonable considering the tank of gas alone would be $40.00!

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