momma28 Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 5:05pm
post #1 of

Got a call from brides mom last night (monday) about a cake for friday. Groom called off the wedding!! only 4 days before the date!

So my deposits are non refundable AND my contract states that all payments made toward the cake are non refundable. Their final payment was made 1.5 weeks ago (I require them 2 weeks before the wedding date)

I bought all the supplies yesterday before the phone call.

Mother of the bride is asking if she can have some money back since they are now out all the money for the wedding. I am not heartless but 4 days???? its not like I can rebook it, ive prepped for it, bought for it. I was to begin baking this morning. Part of me wants to give them back what would be left of their final payment after supplies but the other part of me says....4 days??? REALLY??? This is not a hobby for me. I count on the money that is coming in. Its a job. What if a boss just told you you wouldnt be getting paid this week? I normally only take one wedding in a week to begin wit so i really depend on the money from those I accept.


Sorry done venting icon_sad.gif

72 replies
Texas_Rose Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 5:17pm
post #2 of

They're going to be out money from the venue, caterer, dj, etc...those places most likely aren't going to give any money back either, and they're not going to feel guilty about it.

You have a contract, you turned away other orders to take this one, you don't need to refund the money.

ShandraB Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 5:24pm
post #3 of

I agree you absolutely do not need to give them a refund. However, if any of your supplies can be returned, I would CONSIDER giving them a partial refund, keeping enough of the payment to cover expenses you can't get your money back on, as well as the profit you expected to make.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 5:30pm
post #4 of

I would offer them an equivalent amount of cake or cakes for other events like birthdays or holidays. Refunds at this point do not make much business sense. You missed another booking because of this. You have saved nothing, really.

kakeladi Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 5:32pm
post #5 of

I agree w/Shandra.

Cakeuhlicious Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 5:47pm
post #6 of

A) Your cakes are SOOOO gorgeous!

B) I understand that it seems cold to tell someone who is suffering from an emotional and financial loss, "I have a contract." but the fact of the matter is that you do, and it's your livelihood on the line. I absolutely agree that you should not refund their money. The grooms change of heart, while incredibly unfortunate, should not be a financial burden for you as well.

StacyN Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 5:52pm
post #7 of

I agree with Texas_Rose. You have a contract that they signed. I feel awful for the bride and her mother for all the lost money, but that is not your fault. I can guarantee you that the Venue, DJ, Photographer, Florist, Wedding Planner and Officiant are not going to be handing them back any money. The dress store is not going to let her return the dress either! Like you said this is not a hobby for you, its a business so treat it that way.

theresaf Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 5:58pm
post #8 of

It's a tough situation all around but I'd have to go with Shandra. If there is anything you can return and give them some money back, you'll get good-will from them and possible other referrals. This is not a business for me but in my "day job" I've given plenty of services and even refunds as appropriate to keep my good name. She might get remarried or tell her friends how nice you were...you can't buy advertising for the same amount of money. But I feel for you..no one wants to give money back!!

hollyberry91 Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 6:02pm
post #9 of

Personally I would try to refund something because a circumstance like this. If the bride had been the one to call off the wedding and her family was paying for the cake I wouldn't. If the cake costs $600 for example, i would try to refund maybe $200. Even $50 or $100 would be a gesture that would probably be much appreciated by someone going through something heartbreaking. Just my thoughts

leah_s Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 6:03pm

I'm with Texas. A contract is a contract. Really, the couple should have purchased wedding insurance, which would have covered their lost deposits. Since they took no effort to cover their liability, there's no reason for you to do it or feel guilty about keeping the $.

chrisviz Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 6:04pm

I completely agree that you do not have give them a refund...however, if there was a way to squeeze out a little to give back to them that doesnt hurt you too much financially, it might go a really long way to their continued business with you. The bride will likely at some point become engaged again to marry in the future...plus you would likely earn their business for any events in between. Really tough call. Sorry this happened to all involved. Stinks icon_sad.gif

Narie Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 6:10pm

You do owe her one Wedding Cake. She paid for it. Since I guess she doesn't want it and you haven't started baking it; you could give her a credit line for the price of the cake. There are always birthdays, etc. which require cakes.

It used to be the rule that in this kind of situation the bride was supposed to sell the engagement ring and use that money to pay for her expenses. If the ex-groom wants his ring back, he needs to cough up money to pay the expenses.

cs_confections Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 6:13pm

I completely agree with sticking to your contract. While I would probably give a refund it the cancellation was due to severe illness, sudden deployment, or natural disaster, I would not give a refund for cold feet. Especially that close to the wedding. That part of the contract is to protect you from being out the money and time if the bride and/or groom decide to not go forward.

It's too late for you to rebook that date, so if you give a refund, you're out the larger fee you could have earned had you not booked them to begin with and booked someone who didn't cancel. Even if some of the ingredients and supplies could be returned, you already spent the time planning for and shopping and would have to spend more time returning items.

If I did feel inclined to return part of the payment, I'd probably only return 1/3 or 1/2 of the cost. BUT I'd offer the amount I'm "refunding" in the form of a gift certificate WITH and expiration date to be applied to a future cake. And I'd be sure to explain my contract so they understand that it is a generous offer and hopefully don't try to press for more or a longer period to use it. Good luck!

BlakesCakes Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 6:34pm

You need to cover any business you lost by having the date booked, you need to cover whatever time you invested in design & purchasing supplies.

The only thing that you don't need to cover is the labor you would have invested in completing the cake...........sadly, the largest part of the payments.

Could you tease it apart & refund her that "labor" charge? Sure, but fact is, it was a signed contract and she didn't cover her butt with insurance.

I like the idea of giving her a line of credit for the amount. I've done something similar and it worked out well, BUT, be careful, or you could wind up making 40 serving cakes for her for YEARS!

If you give her a credit, structure it into a total # of servings, a total # of cakes, and a firm time limit for complete redemption. Make sure that she understands that it's based on YOUR availability and that each time she requests something, she will be treated as a new customer looking to book a particular date.

Rae

cookiemama2 Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 6:39pm

I agree about not giving her her money back.
But you could offer to make her the cake anyway ( for that day , not some time in the future ).
She could donate it, enjoy it with her family, ...

I'd love to see it decorated like a divorce cake! With the groon topper laying in a puddle of blood and its neck broken!

southerncross Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 6:42pm

the bride's a fool...she should have taken the cake as contracted for and thrown one hellava "dodged that bullet" party. Any guy who waits til 4 days before the big day to realize this wasn't for him isn't a guy she should want anyway.

aligotmatt Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 7:08pm

4 days out I would not refund anything. I would say, I am so sorry, as the contract states, no refund is given in the event of a cancellation. However, you do still have me booked for a cake for this week which has already been shopped for and I am happy to still make you a cake. We can change the colors or something to accommodate...

I don't know what you purchased or how specific or re-usable it is, so offering a full credit for what she paid on future cakes may still put you out on product.

AnotherCaker Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 7:12pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cookiemama2

I'd love to see it decorated like a divorce cake! With the groon topper laying in a puddle of blood and its neck broken!




Maybe the bride got caught with the best man?

gourmetsharon Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 7:13pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by southerncross

the bride's a fool...she should have taken the cake as contracted for and thrown one hellava "dodged that bullet" party. Any guy who waits til 4 days before the big day to realize this wasn't for him isn't a guy she should want anyway.





Exactly!!

It's a shame but with only 4 days notice, she's kinda outta luck. As much as you can be sympathic, you cannot rebook the date and make up that profit, and she's is unfortunately out.

The mother is trying to get any monies back. She knows she's not getting money from the caterer (who has probably already bought the food), the band (another that cannot rebook), the florist (who has already purchased flowers), or any other vendor.

One of those hard life lessons.

LNW Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 7:30pm

My husbands cousin was to marry her high school sweetheart. They planned a HUGE wedding, booked with all the best of the best in the city. Her parents went all out for this thing. Im not sure how close to the date it was but she decided not to marry him. No idea why, she just didnt want to go through with it. They did contact all the vendors to see if they could get some of their money back and they did in some cases. But the majority of the people they booked with stuck to their contracts and kept their money. The last I heard her very expensive wedding dress was listed on Craigs list. I felt bad for her but better to make the decision now before you take the vows and it cost you a little then to wait until after the wedding and it cost you a small fortune to go through a divorce.

I would give back whatever you could, like the cost of the ingredients. Maybe give her a line of credit with you with super strict stipulations. But I wouldnt refund all her money. You deserve to be paid for your time, what little work you have put into it and missed opportunities for other orders on that day. You need to get paid too.

cakegirl1973 Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 8:05pm

Unfortunately, I personally went through a similar situation, where my wedding was called off two weeks before the wedding date. We lost all of our money with the vendors, per our contracts. However, per my contract with the florist, if (hopefully, when) I plan a wedding again, I will not need to make another initial deposit with the florist, because they will apply the initial deposit from my cancelled wedding. Now, I lost all of the other payments that I made to the florist prior to my final payment, but still, I thought it was nice way to handle it. And, if I ever plan another wedding, I will be sure to use this same florist, since I already have my initial deposit covered with them.

QTCakes1 Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 8:08pm

You don't have to refund anything, cause of your contract. But I agree if you give 25% back, it will help with you look good in the long run. I wouldn't offer another cake, cause you are out on this cake and you don't know how this will play it. Heck, tell them no refund, but they can still have the cake if they want. It is paid for. But everyone will understand if you keep everything.

cakestyles Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 8:10pm

What an a$$ this guy is huh? I mean, I'm sure he was having second thoughts a month ago, he couldn't have done it then?

As far as the refund goes, I wouldn't refund anything but I would still offer to make her the cake for this weekend...not a future date.

My reasoning is....you'll end up losing money in the long run if you offer her a credit to use with you at a later date, because on that date you'll be tied up with "this" order which means turning down additional revenue.

GOD I hope this never happens to me. I feel for you, it's a tough position to be in.

dchockeyguy Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 10:00pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cookiemama2

I agree about not giving her her money back.
But you could offer to make her the cake anyway ( for that day , not some time in the future ).
She could donate it, enjoy it with her family, ...

I'd love to see it decorated like a divorce cake! With the groon topper laying in a puddle of blood and its neck broken!




Wow, that's harsh. Bitter, table for one?

psmith Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 10:09pm

You sound like a really nice person for wanting to give back some of the money BUT I would urge you to reconsider:

1. You don't want to make exceptions to your contract. Word can get around about that sort of thing. The contract is to protect you in the event something like this happens and you have purchased supplies, turned down other cake orders, re-arranged your schedule etc.

2. If you turned down other cakes, then think about those losses before you return any money.

Maybe you can give her a 'voucher' or gift cert for some cupcakes or a small cake for some later date in lieu of returning money.

AnotherCaker Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 10:10pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by dchockeyguy

Quote:
Originally Posted by cookiemama2

I agree about not giving her her money back.
But you could offer to make her the cake anyway ( for that day , not some time in the future ).
She could donate it, enjoy it with her family, ...

I'd love to see it decorated like a divorce cake! With the groon topper laying in a puddle of blood and its neck broken!



Wow, that's harsh. Bitter, table for one?




Well the concept is fun, I've seen some hilarious divorce cakes, but I would be willing to be that groom called the wedding off because fo something the bride did!

kmstreepey Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 10:21pm

I'm sure that they ultimately understand that they had contracts with you and the other vendors for the now-cancelled wedding, but are just calling around to see if they can recoup some of their losses. I wonder how much they really are expecting. You know how sometimes you ask just to see what happens but you don't really expect much of anything?

This seems to be a perfect example of how the line between personal relationship and business relationship can blur in this business. We feel personal attachments to clients because we are trying to make their perfect cake, incorporating what they like, what they want, who they are as individuals and couples. But ultimately a baker's relationship with a client is a business relationship. With a lot of other vendors, you don't even notice that line because it is all just business, like paying for rental tables and chairs. Though you feel bad and can refund some money as you feel comfortable, it really is a business relationship just like a rental company and should be treated as one, for your own protection and peace of mind in the long run.

Though, I must admit, I would have a hard time not giving her a little something...

BoozeBabe Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 10:31pm

I'll be the skeptic here. The MOB said the groom called it off but maybe the bride was the one who called it off. The MOB may have thought there would be more sympathy if she said the groom is the " bad guy " here. I'm NOT saying thats what happened but ....hmmmm maybe.

But I do think you owe her a cake on the original date.

I wouldn't give her a refund. I sell wine & Champagne to brides for weddings and when they order cases of a product I don't usually carry or sell much of I always have a contract and get pre-payment. By law in my state I can't send wines back to the distributor. It only took one instance of a six case order for $30. per bottle wine for a party that was cancelled. They wanted me to refund the $$. I explained the law and told them to save it or drink it now. But the wine belonged to them.

LisaPeps Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 11:06pm

I agree with PP that you shouldn't refund them as you have turned away business to dedicate your time to them. If it were me in your situation, I would explain that as everything has been ordered and arranged that you cannot refund them. I would then offer them the exact same cake (tiers/flavours/servings etc), but with a different design, if they wanted a different design. I would tell them that they can have input on the new design but since it depends on what equipment you have, that you have the final say. You then have the opportunity to try out something new if you wanted and they still get the cake which they have payed for.
I wouldn't offer them a cake for in the future on another date as that would inconvenience you. They could want it in 6 months time and your situation might not be the same eg you could raise your prices or the basic cost of ingredients could go up.

VS8894 Posted 19 Jul 2011 , 11:11pm

I recently had a wedding called of by the groom the morning of. I already had the cakes made and ready to deliver. I delivered them to the groom and that was that.

The really sad thing is, he didn't like carrot cake and that is what the entire wedding cake was. At least the grooms cake was chocolate icon_smile.gif


Don't feel guilty, you don't owe them money back.

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