Cancelled Wedding Today!!! Need Advice

Business By Jacscakes213 Updated 8 Oct 2013 , 8:42pm by Jacscakes213

Jacscakes213 Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 10:11pm
post #1 of 24

I got my very first wedding cancellation today via email. The wedding was set for October 26th. 

The cake booked on September 6 with a 50% deposit. 

In my contract, it is very clear the the deposit is non refundable so I am not worried about that. However this is what I need help on.

When the cake was booked, I have the payment schedule set up that 50% due at time of booking to hold date-NRF. The remaining balance is due 30 days prior to date, no later. If for some reason, the balance cannot be paid on that day , then there will be a 7 day grace period given but assessed a 30$ late fee. If , after that 7 days , if the balance cannot be paid , then I reserve the right to cancel the order and no refund of deposit. 

 

In this particular situation, at the consultation,the MOB requested to pay the balance on October 7th due to a schedule out of town business trip that would take her away from SEP23- OCT6. I agreed to make this exception and included it in the contract that hte final payment was due on OCT 7 instead of SEPT 26. 

 

Since the wedding was cancelled the bride emailed me and said she need to know what needed to be done. 

After some thinking I obviously showed empathy for her but I still have a business to run. 

I email her this:

 

 Unfortunately , the deposit is non refundable . I did make an exception to allow the final payment to be made today which is 12 days past the usual final due date . I also have already turned down 2 other orders based on the booking and paying of your cake. Because of that , I do feel that some type of final payment should be made . Looking at your paperwork, I can deduct the flowers cost and the added flavor cost . I can also deduct the 45$ delivery fee. That would leave owing 157.57 . If I had not made the final payment exception for the late payment it would have already been made. I am so sorry that this has happened for you and I hope everything goes ok.

 

Am I nuts? Does this make sense?

23 replies
DeliciousDesserts Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 11:22pm
post #2 of 24

I can't tell you how to run your business.  I can tell you what my policy is.

 

I require a 50% non refundable retainer.  The final payment is due 30 days before the event.  All very similar to you.

 

That 50% usually covers any advance supplies I have to purchase.  If they cancel or postpone before the Monday of the event, I don't have to bake the cake.  I don't have to decorate the cake.  I don't have to deliver the cake.

 

While I am certainly out the profit I would have made that weekend, I also don't have to do the work.  

 

From the perspective of the client, they get nothing for the money they spent.  The retainer is the money I accept in case of loss.  

 

Personally, I would leave it with her owing no more payment.  At the least, offer that she can put that money towards some other cake or something.

 

My theory is the retainer covers my loss, and I want this bride to remember me fondly.  I want her to come right on back when she finally decides to get married to Mr. Right.

Jacscakes213 Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 11:28pm
post #3 of 24

not at all a bad way too look at it. My only issue is also that I turned down 2 other orders also and it is way to close to book anything in place. The retainer does not cover that loss. 

DeliciousDesserts Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 11:38pm
post #4 of 24

I believe me, I get that point!

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jacscakes213 
 

not at all a bad way too look at it. My only issue is also that I turned down 2 other orders also and it is way to close to book anything in place. The retainer does not cover that loss. 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by DeliciousDesserts 
 

I can't tell you how to run your business.  I can tell you what my policy is.

 

I require a 50% non refundable retainer.  The final payment is due 30 days before the event.  All very similar to you.

 

That 50% usually covers any advance supplies I have to purchase.  If they cancel or postpone before the Monday of the event, I don't have to bake the cake.  I don't have to decorate the cake.  I don't have to deliver the cake.

 

While I am certainly out the profit I would have made that weekend, I also don't have to do the work.  

 

From the perspective of the client, they get nothing for the money they spent.  The retainer is the money I accept in case of loss.  

 

Personally, I would leave it with her owing no more payment.  At the least, offer that she can put that money towards some other cake or something.

 

My theory is the retainer covers my loss, and I want this bride to remember me fondly.  I want her to come right on back when she finally decides to get married to Mr. Right.

 

 

The client is responsible for the payment of her cake....not for your profit.

 

Chances are you won't book a last minute wedding.  Perhaps you will take a few of the smaller cakes you would have had to reject.  Even if you don't....you won't be spending the money you would have on ingredients and the "cost" of making the cake.  The 50% retainer won't provide you with a little extra than what you spent?  Most of the things I purchase (plates & columns, boards, drums) can be used for another cake.

 

If the 50% doesn't offer you some compensation for the loss of profits for that weekend, you need to increase your retainer.

-K8memphis Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 11:45pm
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacscakes213 
 

not at all a bad way too look at it. My only issue is also that I turned down 2 other orders also and it is way to close to book anything in place. The retainer does not cover that loss. 

 

i agree with delicious--i mean the bride that will receive no cake or anything (and rightly so) for her 50% down --i feel that she paid her obligation to you--

 

i wouldn't try & get anything more out of this--

 

why would anyone pay more for something they cancelled and will not receive--

 

just my opinion

 

perhaps up your retainer but then again 50% is nice--i do 30% (did)

Jacscakes213 Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 11:51pm
post #6 of 24

just to change it up a bit. In a normal circumstance with no changes made to the balance due date as with this case... I would have already had the full payment. Would there be any type of refund or would I be justified in keeping the payments?

liz at sugar Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 11:53pm
post #7 of 24

Yes, you could ask for 75% down in the future if you feel 50% did not fairly compensate youI have no problem asking people for money owed, but this situation is a little awkward.  I think you would leave the bride with a bad taste in her mouth if you asked for more money.

 

Bakers turn down additional business all the time - it is part of doing business.

 

Liz

BrandisBaked Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 11:53pm
post #8 of 24

ANever had this happen, but I would probably not refund the deposit but give her a credit toward a different cake to be used within a year. While the credit isn't in my policy, I couldn't feel good about keeping the money over someone's cancelled wedding.

Crystalolvera60 Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 11:57pm
post #9 of 24

You agreed that today is the due date for the final payment & today they cancelled. Even though normally you would have had full payment by now...you did agree today is the final day for them. I don't think charging her for full price is appropriate in this situation. 

CindiM Posted 7 Oct 2013 , 11:57pm
post #10 of 24

I am sorry you had a cancellation.

 

I also have a non-refundable retainer of $100 which is paid when the order is placed.  I refund any "additional money" if the wedding is canceled.  To me, the $100 pays for the tasting, my time, the design, a slot on my calendar and any supplies, I may have ordered.  To me canceling a wedding, is a very difficult time for the whole family and I respect that.

 

I understand about the order/orders you missed because you were booked, but I don't feel it is appropriate to keep money for a missed opportunity.

 

I may be wrong, but that is how I would expect to be treated.

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 8 Oct 2013 , 12:00am
post #11 of 24

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jacscakes213 
 

not at all a bad way too look at it. My only issue is also that I turned down 2 other orders also and it is way to close to book anything in place. The retainer does not cover that loss. 

 

 

The $150 won't cover that loss either, assuming they were larger cakes. Unless your contract states that she is responsible for lost business, which is impossible to put a price tag on, you can't hold her accountable for that.

 

I agree fully with DD here, I wouldn't ask for further payment. Honestly, if I was the bride I wouldn't make the payment either, and I kind of doubt she will, e-mail or no e-mail.

Today is the due date according to the contract, the fact that you made an exception is a moot point, I would say she has every legal right to not make the payment.

 

According to your contract, on date A the non-refundable deposit is due, she paid deposit.

On date B, remainder is due by this date or order is cancelled, on date B, she lets you know she is cancelling the order. Legally,  you keep the deposit, but as the due date has not passed at the time of cancelling, you are not entitled to anymore money.

 

Actually, unless your contract states that even cancelled orders must be paid for, on or after the 30 day mark, you are never entitled to the remainder of a payment on a cancelled order. If they make the final payment, and then cancel, that really depends on your contract.

 

I am making assumptions, obviously, about your contract from what you have said, so could be totally off if you have these things covered in it.

jenmat Posted 8 Oct 2013 , 12:24am
post #12 of 24

I think even if you send her that email requesting more money, she's either going to ignore it or pull a "try and get it from me" type thing. I would. Or I would ask for cake to match what I'm paying you. In this case you changed the date, and the risk of changing the date of the due payment was that until that payment was made, they could cancel. 

Not that they intended to cancel, but that was the risk of changing the contract, and truly the risk of any wedding professional. Unless you take 100% payment at time of order with no refund for cancellations, you are always going to have some type of risk of cancellation. 

NOT worth the $200 IMO.

Jacscakes213 Posted 8 Oct 2013 , 12:34am
post #13 of 24

the deposit definitely did not cover the "tasting/consultation" LOL. This was such a unique experience.. What should take 45 min. took over 2 hours. I had to sit and listen to the bride and MOB argue over so may details of the wedding that DID NOT pertain to the cake. For instance... I asked ..What time would you like delivery and set up? What ensue was a 20 minute conversation regarding whether or not the bride would change out of her wedding dress after the temple ceremony ( I live in SLC) so as to not ruin in during the luncheon (apparently the bride is a messy eater) Anyways.... I appreciate all of your feedback... One point that really stuck out was that I agreed to change the final payment date. (made by Scrumdiddycakes)

So lessons I have learned from this:

1. I will not make any further exceptions in regards to payment dates. 

2. By no longer making payment exceptions, I will most likely not be in such a situation like this 

3. I will make contract changes to reflect bride/representative cancellations and a timeline to reflect this 

4. I will also start making it clear that my consultations are free up to 1 hour and are $xx for each additional hour... people like to gab which is fine but not if I have another appointment waiting! ( I schedule at least  30 minuted windows between appts.)

Jacscakes213 Posted 8 Oct 2013 , 12:39am
post #14 of 24

So this is what I decided  and I emailed her this!

 

________,

After further reconsideration, I have decided to withdraw my request for any further monies due. Again I am sorry that this has happened. 
Thank you for your business and I hope that everything works out for you.
 
SophistiCakes

kikiandkyle Posted 8 Oct 2013 , 12:40am
post #15 of 24

Sounds like a divorce waiting to happen anyway! 

Jacscakes213 Posted 8 Oct 2013 , 12:56am
post #16 of 24

Oh .and when it was  time to talk $$$, I am very detailed when it comes to this. The MOB had previously asked me "Do you cut the cake as well?" I told her that customarily the caterer or the venue wold do that . She said there was no caterer and the venue did not offer that service.After checking my calendar , I told her I cold do it and I gave her price. I told her that she cold pay me that in cash or check on the day of service. I explained that if she came across a friend or family member that offered, there wasn't any money that had to be refunded. So then later it comes time to layout the cake pricing. I gave her all of the details explained each and every one, cake size, servings, design, flavors, floral, tax, delivery ...everything. Told her the final total and what the deposit is. Again reminding her that the cutting fee was not included just in case she changed her mind ( i was hoping she would after talking to some friends and family)

 

She's says after all of this explanation : I still have to pay the cutting fee on top of that, it's not included in that total!

....Aye and I took a 25$ discount off the cake already because I could see she was fretting over the cake her daughter chose( it has a cascade of sugar flowers and two tiers of diagonal pleats)

 

I think I went through the pricing like 4 times!!! UGH

 

 

Maybe a blessing from the Cake Gods that this wedding cancelled!

DeliciousDesserts Posted 8 Oct 2013 , 12:56am
post #17 of 24

Just my opinion & policy:

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jacscakes213 
 

just to change it up a bit. In a normal circumstance with no changes made to the balance due date as with this case... I would have already had the full payment. Would there be any type of refund or would I be justified in keeping the payments?

 

If she had made the final payment but canceled before I began work on the cake, I would refund everything except that initial retainer.

DeliciousDesserts Posted 8 Oct 2013 , 1:02am
post #18 of 24

Quick note about consults.  YOU are in charge.  Sometimes clients need redirecting.  That's your job.

 

I concentrate on 2 things:  design the cake & taste my cake.  It should be a fun expierence.  Sure there are some disagreements about what the cake should be.  It's my job to offer solutions & compromises before things escalate to anyone being uncomfortable.  I don't even ask about start times & delivery times until about a month before the wedding.  Those details always change.  I ask what time the ceremony/reception starts.  If there is a planner, I get a copy of the timeline.

 

Only I know how long the cake will take me to set up.  How could I possibly expect the client to tell me when to deliver?

Jacscakes213 Posted 8 Oct 2013 , 1:12am
post #19 of 24

You are absolutely CORRECT!!! and boy did I try ..they would start running off with the topics.....I had to keep saying and what about this or that to redirect to the cake..... When it comes to delivery times....that is what i ask.. I misworded ti before.. asked what time the rec. would start so that I can gauge a delivery time from that...Usually, I get a direct answer, we agree on a time, etc. This time though..oh geezz...it just spun away!!!

Snowflakebunny23 Posted 8 Oct 2013 , 11:47am
post #20 of 24

This is a difficult one.  I was a bride in a related situation with a photographer a few years ago...we had booked, paid the deposit (about 10%) but had to postpone the wedding.  I emailed the photographer to let him know and apologise.  This was 3 months and 28 days before the wedding was due to take place and according to his ts&cs, within 4 months, 70% of the balance was due.  He invoked the cancellation policy sending an invoice for the remaining 60%.  He was citing how he had had to turn down 5 weddings for that date etc.  While he was well within his rights to do this, I was already upset and now even more gutted at having to fork out such a large amount of money.  It would have been nice for him to offer to refund it if he managed to get another booking or something for that date seeing as there was still a fair amount of time and he was clearly in high demand.  That never happened.

 

Anyhow, moral of the story is that while he got part of his money in the short term, I would never go anywhere near him again (which I would of done if some kind of concession had been made) and would certainly not give him any kind of recommendation.  I think you made the right decision in the long term taking into account both the brides feelings (and ultimately any possible future business) while making sure you weren't financially out of pocket. :-) 

-K8memphis Posted 8 Oct 2013 , 1:26pm
post #21 of 24

one further note on consults for future--i give the bride a homework assignment page --

 

pre-cell phone days it would contain a host of phone number requests, exact address of venue --"oh you can't miss it it's on the corner of thus & such"  -- "agh no i can miss it i have missed it and i need the exact address."  nowadays peeps just whip out their phones and all that info gets recorded like magic--

 

but now it might have a color swatch to provide and whatever--it's a much shorter list--but still proves handy for that stray bit of info--

 

like in this case where there's conflict--to get back on track i'd say -'ok that's (time of reception) on your homework list--next let's talk flavors'...or whatever--and keep up with her answers by email--

 

so just a thought for you to maybe help move things along --save the chaos for the car ride home and spare you? looks good on paper anyhow :smile: but seriously it could help retain control

 

Paperfishies Posted 8 Oct 2013 , 1:46pm
post #22 of 24

AThis is difficult.

As a customer, I would say that you as the vendor made the exception to allow for a later payment and with that exception you've agreed to different terms thus accepting changes to the contract, therefore, I legally would not owe you anything more.

As a baker, I understand where you're coming from. I would keep the deposit, tell the bride how sorry I am for her change of plans and leave it at that. She is going to walk away from this with a bad experience to tell. People who have a negative experience with a business, on average tell 10 people about that terrible experience...people who have a positive one usually only tell 3 people.

In this case, IMO, the negative word of mouth will hurt you more than the $157 you feel you are owed.

costumeczar Posted 8 Oct 2013 , 8:08pm
post #23 of 24

I think that you did the right thing by not asking for any more money. You'd made so many exceptions already it sounds like this was a disaster waiting to happen and you're probably lucky to have dodged the bullet. I doubt they would have paid you anything else anyway even if you had stuck to the final bill.

 

I have a breakdown of refunds in my contrct with cancellation dates before a certain time, a week out, the day of, etc etc. That doesn't mean that I'm going to stick with that 100% unless I've done a lot of work ahead of time for something. If they call off a wedding there's no need to add insult to injury, so I usually refund what I can. It's better for future business, too. I've had a few brides who cancelled then got married late, and they came to me for the cakes. If I'd been a hardass about it I doubt htey would have wanted to deal with me again. And I've heard a lot of people complain about vendors who did take deposits and wouldn't refund for different situations, so if they tell me that you know they're telling their friends too.

Jacscakes213 Posted 8 Oct 2013 , 8:42pm
post #24 of 24

Well, it does suck .... but she seemed thrilled that I changed my mind, and she said she doesn't expect the deposit back with it being so close. I stand firm on the deposit issue. I do understand it must be terrible to cancel a wedding but at the same time, I can't let my sympathy take priority over my business sense. If that was the case,then I would give it all away for nothing--every bride has a story!!! Well, as for the "get the business in the future" mindset, that won't be happening either because I am relocating to Pa. in February. 

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