cakelady2266 Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 4:20pm
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I've got a little situation I need advice on. I have a wedding coming up and was finalizing the details with the bride when she tells me the florist insist on putting the flowers on the cake. In my contract it states I will place/arrange any and all flowers on the cake. The bride read and signed the contract 7 months ago and has a copy. So what is the best way to handle this situation?

30 replies
jgifford Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 4:34pm
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I would say if your bride read and signed the contract 7 months ago, then it's up to her to resolve it with the florist. However, if you would be willing to allow the florist to put the flowers on the cake, I would make sure that the bride signed something acknowledging that you advised against it and relieving you of all responsibility in case the florist screws up the cake or someone gets sick due to possible contaminants on/in the flowers.

sillywabbitz Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 4:50pm
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Make flourish sign something saying she takes full responsibility for the look of the cake as well as full legal responsibility if anyone gets sick from eating the cake. I'm positive she won't sign it and will just give you the flowers. It's a liability of she places toxic flowers on the cake or inserts any flower directly into the cake.

cakelady2266 Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 7:55pm
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While I was putting yalls advice to work I got to thinking and the more I thought the madder I got.

A florist work is showcased all through out the wedding, at the ceremony and reception, and they have dominion over their work. The cake at the reception is the only work I have to showcase and I should have dominion over it. Why in the hell does the florist need to have any dominion over my cake? It's just a flower, the florist didn't create the flower itself, didn't spend endless hours growing it. If a flower falls in the floor it can be picked up dusted off and put back where it came from. If a flower breaks it can be replaced. A cake on the other hand can not.

I mean no disrespect to florist at all. But I think the brides vision of her wedding flowers is between her and the florist. I think the brides vision of her cake is between her and the baker (i.e. me).

jgifford Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 8:02pm
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Originally Posted by cakelady2266

While I was putting yalls advice to work I got to thinking and the more I thought the madder I got.

A florist work is showcased all through out the wedding, at the ceremony and reception, and they have dominion over their work. The cake at the reception is the only work I have to showcase and I should have dominion over it. Why in the hell does the florist need to have any dominion over my cake? It's just a flower, the florist didn't create the flower itself, didn't spend endless hours growing it. If a flower falls in the floor it can be picked up dusted off and put back where it came from. If a flower breaks it can be replaced. A cake on the other hand can not.

I mean no disrespect to florist at all. But I think the brides vision of her wedding flowers is between her and the florist. I think the brides vision of her cake is between her and the baker (i.e. me).




In that light, you are correct and the bride - not you - needs to settle it with the florist, especially since she's known about this for months. She could very easily have nipped it in the bud (see what I did there?) when the florist brought it up.

jason_kraft Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 8:08pm
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If you look at it from the florist's perspective it's understandable. Guests won't necessarily know which flowers were placed by the florist and which were placed by the cake decorator, and if the cake decorator doesn't do a good job with the flowers on the cake then it reflects poorly on the florist.

Same situation with other people bringing homemade cakes to the event, some cake decorators specifically disallow this in their contract (although whether they are willing to enforce this clause is another story).

I agree with having the florist sign a disclaimer waiving your liability from any damage they cause, but I would coordinate directly with the florist well before the event, in a professional manner of course.

cakelady2266 Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 9:12pm
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jgifford, nip it in the bud, lol. Jason, I'll calm down and handle it professionally. But for now I'm gonna froth.

The flower clause in my contract came about after seeing several of my cakes poked to death. Or they leave a dent on it with their knuckle or something. And mine are buttercream cakes, so not that fun to try to smooth out. Before I started working in contracts last year, I was setting up a wedding cake when this florist insisted on putting the flowers on. Well after some back and forth discussion the florist informs me she has a picture of the wedding cake to go by. I had the same damn picture and in the magazine from which it came in my hot little hand. The cake in the picture had 2 roses on the top tier. She put 7 roses on the cake, 4 on the top, 1 on the middle tier and 2 on the bottom. Big difference.

I'm not anti flower but come on. There are hundreds if not thousands of flowers at a wedding. Florist are getting theirs... on every table, door, alter, pew marker, hand, wrist, lapel, and any and everywhere you can stick a flower. Now that cake is mine to fuss over. I don't want it scratched, marred, marked, poked and prodded with stalks, stems, wire, thorns or fingers. So I say leave our cakes alone.

I having 23 years of cake handling experience know how to place flowers on a cake with out sticking them in the cake. I can do an entire cascade of live flowers on a 6 tier cake without stick on single stem in the cake. Yeah I am that good. And to be perfectly honest it doesn't take a rocket scientist to put flowers on a cake.

Now I'm trying to church that up and send that info to the bride and reword my contract so I don't encounter this in the future.

Pebbles1727 Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 10:38pm
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I actually am currently trying to figure out if I can take class or classes on flower arrangements after my last run in with the florist. Despite the clause in my contract, while I was setting up the cupcake tower for the groom at the venue, the florist stuck flowers directly into the wedding cake and while doing so, left fingerprints all over the tiers. By the time I saw that, it was too late. So I had to ask the florist to cover up the mess she made. There was no way of smoothing that buttercream up at that point. We had to add more leaves and flowers to cover all of the boo-boos. So, since neither brides nor florists seems to be respectful, the only way I know out of it is mandate that flowers be provided by me, live, silk, or otherwise and charge accordingly.
Good Luck, P

Cakery2012 Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 11:20pm
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The Florist is NOT. the cake Decorator . He /she has no business touching he cake .

costumeczar Posted 21 Mar 2012 , 11:36pm

Tell the bride that when the florist shows her the license that she has to handle food she can put the flowers on the cake. Until them it's a food product and you're the one who's licensed by the health department to deal with food. And if she wants to mess with your cake, you can rearrange the centerpieces while she kills your cake.

I'd also tell the bride that the majority of fresh flowers are now imported from foreign countries, and they don't have the same regulations about pesticides and fertilizers that we do. They're allowed to use human waste as fertilizer, so you need to be the one to place flowers on the cakes in order to prevent any kind of toxicity issues from affecting it.

I had one florist come BACK to the venue to decorate the cake, She started sticking roses directly into the cake, and I told her to stop. She said "most bakers don't like me doing that" and did it again! I told her "SERIOUSLY...do NOT do that." She stopped, but if I hadn't been there the cake would have been impaled.

Pebbles1727 Posted 22 Mar 2012 , 1:46am
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She stopped, but if I hadn't been there the cake would have been impaled.




Exactly, and after you left, it could have still been impaled. What I learned is that florists will do what they always done and will just wait until I leave. I cannot stick around the venue and police the cake to make sure noone touches it despite my contract. So, the only reasonable way for me to resolve this is to do my own flowers, so when I leave the cake is exactly the way it was meant to be.

costumeczar Posted 22 Mar 2012 , 2:13am
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Originally Posted by Pebbles1727

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She stopped, but if I hadn't been there the cake would have been impaled.



Exactly, and after you left, it could have still been impaled. What I learned is that florists will do what they always done and will just wait until I leave. I cannot stick around the venue and police the cake to make sure noone touches it despite my contract. So, the only reasonable way for me to resolve this is to do my own flowers, so when I leave the cake is exactly the way it was meant to be.




I'm usually there after the florists are, and I also generally don't do fresh flowers on cakes at all. Every now and then one will insist on fresh flowers, but I put them on the cake and the florists have usually been there and gone 9 times out of 10. I think that there are a couple of jerk florists around here who would insist on trying to decorate the cake, but most of them are happy to let me do it.

cakelady2266 Posted 22 Mar 2012 , 2:32am

I'm not sure why this rubbed me the wrong way today but it sure did. Maybe it was because it's on paper and has been signed off on.

Granted the vast majority of florist are fine leaving flowers for me but there are the prima donnas want the whole thing to be about them. I've seen this with other type vendors as well. The cake isn't the center of the wedding but it is generally is the centerpiece of the reception. Folks don't usually see cakes that large or elaborately decorated unless it is at a wedding. So surely if I'm able to turn sugar, flour eggs etc into edible art, I can put some flowers on a cake. And if anything happens to the cake you can't just pull another one out of thin air.

Tails Posted 22 Mar 2012 , 9:09am
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Originally Posted by jason_kraft

If you look at it from the florist's perspective it's understandable. Guests won't necessarily know which flowers were placed by the florist and which were placed by the cake decorator, and if the cake decorator doesn't do a good job with the flowers on the cake then it reflects poorly on the florist.




It never even occured to me, as a guest at many weddings, that the florist has anything to do with the flowers on the cake. I would assume the baker sourced and placed their own flowers and the florist did the bouquet and decor flowers.

cakelady2266 Posted 22 Mar 2012 , 3:32pm

Any suggestions on how I word my response to the bride? I want to be professional but polite. And if she sends it to the florist I want her to read it and say "oh I get it, I've never thought of it like that"

mommachris Posted 22 Mar 2012 , 4:00pm

Dear Bride,
In regard to the conflicting contracts, I can respect the florist's concern that all flowers be done by her however I am licensed to handle food. The cake will be consumed at your wedding and as stated in my contract only I am to place items on the cake. If the florist is willing to sign a waiver taking the responsibility of food safety off my hands, then I am willing to allow her to place the flowers. Keep in mind also that the florist will also bare the responsibility of damage to the cake that is done when placing the flowers.
Please let me know if she is willing to sign and I will provide the documents needed.

Happy Baker


Once the bride explains your position to the florist, I suspect the flower lady will back off her high horse.

I stood there with my mouth hanging open last year as a florist took a branch out of a bucket of water, shook it off and then broke the bottom four inches off of it and JAMMED it into the buttercream on the top layer of a cake I made. ( She used it to hold up a metal monogram)
She told me she'd been decorating for years and did it all the time.
I vowed NEVER to let another person touch my cakes again. That was gross.

mommachris

AZCouture Posted 22 Mar 2012 , 4:16pm

I actually have an unwritten ban against fresh flowers at this point, UNLESS they are 100% constructed by a florist, in a leakproof container, made to the dimensions of the top tier. There is no more jamming of last minute grocery store roses plucked from swamp water buckets on MY cakes. Hell no.

Annabakescakes Posted 22 Mar 2012 , 4:53pm
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Originally Posted by AZCouture

I actually have an unwritten ban against fresh flowers at this point, UNLESS they are 100% constructed by a florist, in a leakproof container, made to the dimensions of the top tier. There is no more jamming of last minute grocery store roses plucked from swamp water buckets on MY cakes. Hell no.




That really puts it in perspective...GAG!

AZCouture Posted 22 Mar 2012 , 4:54pm

Because that was what awaited me every single time. I told them tea roses and very small blooms until I was blue in the face. Nope. Huge honking roses wrapped in that plastic sheath from the grocery store. Every. Time. Ugh.

Annabakescakes Posted 22 Mar 2012 , 5:21pm
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Huge honking roses


I hear ya! I did a cake for a lady that wanted real roses in a cascade down the side and the blooms were so heavy, I tore the cake to smithereens to get them to stay in there (in straws from Mickey-D's icon_redface.gif ) Thank goodness the sheer size of the them hid the mess of cake crumbs, dents and holes i made when I didn't get it situated the right way the first time and it came craaaashing down, bouncing off the lower tiers as it went...

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Cakelady2266: I having 23 years of cake handling experience know how to place flowers on a cake with out sticking them in the cake. I can do an entire cascade of live flowers on a 6 tier cake without stick on single stem in the cake. Yeah I am that good. And to be perfectly honest it doesn't take a rocket scientist to put flowers on a cake.


HOW the HECK? I stick them in straws, but the damage can be extensive. What are the alternatives? Can they be wired? I know not to stick them in a cake, but how do people get a garland on there? TUTORIAL!!!! <please>

Annabakescakes Posted 22 Mar 2012 , 5:23pm

DOUBLE POST!

indydebi Posted 23 Mar 2012 , 12:45am
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Cakelady2266: I having 23 years of cake handling experience know how to place flowers on a cake with out sticking them in the cake. I can do an entire cascade of live flowers on a 6 tier cake without stick on single stem in the cake. Yeah I am that good. And to be perfectly honest it doesn't take a rocket scientist to put flowers on a cake.

HOW the HECK? I stick them in straws, but the damage can be extensive. What are the alternatives? Can they be wired? I know not to stick them in a cake, but how do people get a garland on there? TUTORIAL!!!! <please>


Agree with the above. you have to have some common sense to apply flowers, but if you can decorate a cake, then you can EASILY do florals. Cakers do it all the time with BC, fondant and gumpaste flowers. Real ones are not really different.

I cut the stem off as close to the head as possible; put a big blob of icing in the underside of the floral and use that blob to glue it to the cake. As stated above, I can also do a full cascade down multiple tiers without breaking thru the top icing once. Just cut the stems out of the way!

Annabakescakes Posted 23 Mar 2012 , 12:59am
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Originally Posted by indydebi

Agree with the above. you have to have some common sense to apply flowers, but if you can decorate a cake, then you can EASILY do florals. Cakers do it all the time with BC, fondant and gumpaste flowers. Real ones are not really different.

I cut the stem off as close to the head as possible; put a big blob of icing in the underside of the floral and use that blob to glue it to the cake. As stated above, I can also do a full cascade down multiple tiers without breaking thru the top icing once. Just cut the stems out of the way!




Surely that doesn't work with those gargantuan roses that can rip a straw right out of a cake? They have to be too heavy, right? It seems too simple!

indydebi Posted 23 Mar 2012 , 2:49am

YOu build from the bottom, using the lower roses to support the upper ones. But to be fair, i've never had a bride leave me the gargantuan ones .... those big enough to use as a spare tire or thereabouts ........ though! icon_lol.gif

cakelady2266 Posted 23 Mar 2012 , 3:14am

When you get your swamp water bucket of rejects the florist was kind enough to leave, cut the wet stems off and find a sink and rinse off any funk that crawled upward. Dry off any excess water. Try to carry a bottle of water in your bag for the the occasion when there is no running water.

Cascading flowers isn't too difficult. Start at the bottom of the cake and work your way upward. Use the heaviest (roses) and/or large flowers (lilies, orchids, gerber daisies) on the tops of the tiers and fill in with lighter weight ones. Twist and turn flowers to support one another, stagger them around. Cut the stems off or back as far as possible. Use icing to secure as needed. You can stick a toothpick at an angle through the side or bottom of a rose for extra security.

Full sizes roses are tight and heavy. You can take off some of the weight of "big honking roses" by peeling off some of the outer petals. Once you do that then insert your finger in the center of the bloom and spin it around to open up the rose. This will give it fullness and make it take you more space. You can use the extra petals to fill in or sprinkle on the table.

Break a big cluster of hydrangea and stock apart to make it go farther. You can stand some flowers straight up and hide them behind other buds. Use leaves to fill in bare spots, because sometimes you are never left with enough flowers to work with.

Here is an example of my arranging method, http://cakecentral.com/gallery/1778231. I was very pleased and so was the bride.

cakelady2266 Posted 26 Mar 2012 , 10:07pm

Update...I emailed the bride and explained my stand on the flower placement. I was very professional and polite, yall would have been so proud.

So today she emails me back with this response, "I totally get what your saying about the flowers. I am meeting with the florist Tuesday and I will explain the situation to her. But just in case she still insist putting the flowers on the cake will you please email me a copy of the waiver?"

Well damn it. The bride just needs to tell the florist to back off. Since I threw the waiver thing out there now I have to actually come up with one. So I'm going to need some assistance. And make it good so there is no way the florist will have the nerve to sign it.

jason_kraft Posted 26 Mar 2012 , 10:55pm
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Originally Posted by cakelady2266

Well damn it. The bride just needs to tell the florist to back off. Since I threw the waiver thing out there now I have to actually come up with one. So I'm going to need some assistance. And make it good so there is no way the florist will have the nerve to sign it.



By placing the flowers on the cake herself the florist should assume full liability for the integrity of the cake and the decorations as well as liability for any health issues arising out of the placement of flowers directly in the cake. In turn, you as the cake decorator will be held harmless for any damages or claims resulting from flower placement on the cake and/or pesticide contamination of the cake.

The bride should also sign an addendum to your original contract indicating that she understands she is going against your recommendation of letting you handle the flower arrangement on the cake instead of the florist, and she agrees that you are not responsible for anything the florist does to her cake.

It's not really a big deal if they do end up signing the waivers (which is a possibility), if they do you are pretty well protected. The thing to watch out for is if the florist does not sign the waiver, if that happens I would stick around until the florist leaves to make sure they don't add flowers to the cake anyway.

cakelady2266 Posted 26 Mar 2012 , 11:01pm

Thanks Jason. It just really is hard to watch someone stabbing flowers in a cake that I've spent hours on. I hate having all those nasty stems stuck in there. And they literally stab them in there like they were trying to kill something.

cakelady2266 Posted 28 Mar 2012 , 1:41am

Update alert!!!!! I composed a well thought out full page waiver that was sheer poetry and emailed it to the bride. Much to my surprise I received this response "the florist won't be putting the flowers on the cake, she will be leaving the flowers for you to decorate with."

So I won.

jason_kraft Posted 28 Mar 2012 , 1:45am
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Originally Posted by cakelady2266

Update alert!!!!! I composed a well thought out full page waiver that was sheer poetry and emailed it to the bride. Much to my surprise I received this response "the florist won't be putting the flowers on the cake, she will be leaving the flowers for you to decorate with."



Since the florist did not sign the waiver I would still be cautious and make sure the florist is gone before you leave the venue. She or her staff could still try to put the flowers in the cake, either willfully or due to a miscommunication.

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