Wedding Cupcake Setup - Me Or Venue?

Business By KatrinaBroughton Updated 13 Jul 2014 , 1:08am by TheSugarLab

KatrinaBroughton Posted 9 Jul 2014 , 5:52pm
post #1 of 15

Ack! I urgently need some advice! I am doing 175 cupcakes for a wedding this Saturday displayed on a cake dummy/cake drum stand. I just got off the phone with the venue coordinator to discuss delivery logistics. I assumed I would be setting up the cupcakes - advice from here on Cake Central is do your own setup and take a photo as proof! (Just like a wedding cake)

 

BUT the venue coordinator says they usually setup cupcakes after dinner, otherwise people will probably start eating them before. I have a hard time believing that but this is my first wedding cupcake order. SO I'll leave them the setup stand and boxes of cupcakes and they'll set it up.

 

Would you allow the venue to setup your cupcakes or insist that you set them up? I haven't discussed this detail with the bride and groom, so I'm not sure what their expecting.

14 replies
LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 9 Jul 2014 , 7:04pm
post #2 of 15

I would insist that I set them up. NO WAY would I let anyone at a venue set up my cupcakes! Let the venue coordinator and the bride and groom know that your policy is to set everything up yourself as you are the baker and designer and only you know how they are supposed to be set up.

leah_s Posted 9 Jul 2014 , 7:05pm
post #3 of 15

No way anyone else sets up anything of mine.  I do it and take a picture.  I have, when I was doing candy buffets, draped a color appripriate piece of tulle over the candy jars, just to visually tell people its "closed."

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 9 Jul 2014 , 8:03pm
post #4 of 15

We've never had a venue tell us this. I would think most venues would be afraid to even touch the cake (or cupcake display)! It seems odd that they are having enough of an issue of the guests trying to prematurely eat the cupcakes that they would have a policy of setting them up themselves, since I think in most cases the guests would leave something like that alone until they were served or told to grab them.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 9 Jul 2014 , 8:12pm
post #5 of 15

No one touches the cupcakes before the bride and groom.  Some still do the traditional cutting of a cupcake.  They still do the photo op.  The cupcakes are as much a centerpiece as a wedding cake would be.  Guests like to ooh and aah. Insist on setting up and expect all guest to act appropriately.

KatrinaBroughton Posted 9 Jul 2014 , 10:03pm
post #6 of 15

Thanks for the feedback everyone! You've confirmed what I thought. Now I just have to grow some balls to talk to the venue coordinator! It'd be easier if it was a choice of the bride and groom but I don't want to bother them with it 3 days before their wedding.

costumeczar Posted 10 Jul 2014 , 11:03am
post #7 of 15

AI'll be the lone dissenter, but people will take cupcakes if they're out. They're not a traditional wedding cake, which people will still go up to and poke, but seem to fear a little. Cupcakes aren't as scary and they look like finger food to people, so they'll be taken from the display if they are thee and available. I've been told by a lot of venue coordinators that it happens, so the venue probably has experience with it and wants to control the serving of them.

I don't do cupcakes but I've done cookies etc before, and I have no problem giving them to the venue to set up. If that's how they do it they might not even have a table available for you to use when you get there, so you're going to be making their job difficult if you insist on setting them up yourself. If it's really that important to you then go ahead and argue with them, but you also risk going on their "no referrals for you" list, which is another thing venues tend to do. It's a balance between how important it is to you to stick cupcakes on a stand and how important it is to follow the venue's floorplan and/or schedule.

Smckinney07 Posted 10 Jul 2014 , 11:32am
post #8 of 15

AI always get a contact number for the venue as well as the couples wedding planner or a designated family member if anything happens or a problem arises. This is something you should have had ironed out before. Just future advice that doesn't help much now.

I also like to have that designated person sign off when I drop off the cake & take pictures (I probably do many things that some might consider going overboard but I've slowly tried to add things in order to avoid issues mainly due to the horror stories on here). Anyway, I can see how cupcakes might be a bit different then a wedding cake. I'm not sure I've ever had just cupcakes without a cutting cake and stand but there are only a small number of venues here so I've always been able to setup without issues, thankfully.

I wouldn't want to get banned from a venue! If you are very worried about it then I'd contact the bride/planner and let them know what the vendor said and your concerns. That way you are covered on both ends and the bride will know you satisfied your commitment regardless.

810whitechoc Posted 10 Jul 2014 , 12:47pm
post #9 of 15

I will dissent with you Costumeczar, recently I had this exact situation occur to me, but with no advance notice.  I showed up at the venue with 150 cupcakes (not the wedding cake, bride's best friend made that as a gift), the bride wanted my cupcakes to have with coffee just because she likes them.  When I asked the event coordinator where to set them up I was told there wasn't space as the coffee station was going to be set up in the same area where the pre dinner drinks were to be held.  There was a sliding wall between the two areas. The set up was: guests have drinks etc with the wall closed, then the wall was slid open to reveal the room setup, the WOW moment if you know what I mean.  When guests were all seated for dinner the wall was to be closed again and the coffee station and cupcakes would be set up.  After speeches/first dance etc the wall was to be opened again and left open so guests could walk around both areas, have coffee, dance etc. This was a small venue with only the two areas and that's that, no other place to set up the cupcakes and the wedding cake was set up in the main room.

 

I had a friendly chat with the event coordinator, discussed how they were to be set up (relatively simple) and left her to it.  There were no dramas, I spoke to the mother of the groom a couple of days later and she said the guests devoured the cupcakes, I was concerned because they ordered about 30 more than I thought they needed, but she said word went around very quickly and they were all gone in a flash, and the whole wedding was a great success.

 

I get a lot of referrals from wedding venues, the referrals they send are genuine and I get at least 90% of the referrals from venues.  From a business point of view they are much more cost effective than the "tyre kickers" and general emails that you know people have sent out to everybody fishing for the cheapest price, tread carefully event coordinators have the power to tell customers about you.... or not.

costumeczar Posted 10 Jul 2014 , 1:43pm
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by 810whitechoc 
 

 

 

I get a lot of referrals from wedding venues, the referrals they send are genuine and I get at least 90% of the referrals from venues.  From a business point of view they are much more cost effective than the "tyre kickers" and general emails that you know people have sent out to everybody fishing for the cheapest price, tread carefully event coordinators have the power to tell customers about you.... or not.

Exactly...and it's not unusual that the bride forgets to mention to the venue about someting like this. I deliver a lot of groom's cakes that are surprises for the groom so they're ordered after the cake contract is signed. I'd say that about 80% of the time when I have one of these I'll arrive to deliver and the venue has no idea that there's a groom's cake as well as a wedding cake. The brides don't think to say anything about it and I forget to mention it too, so oh well. If that happens and they have to scramble to find a table for it I'll tell them that I'll just set the groom's cake on the wedding cake table, and they can set it up when they get a chance. The venue has enough going on during an event setup, and I don't want to get a reputation as the baker who shows up and starts bossing their staff around. If it's something like a wedding cake table that's about to fall over, that warrants immediate action on their part, but otherwise I'll leave them to go about their business and I won't make their jobs more difficult.

 

I was setting up a cake somewhere recently and they weren't quite ready with the linens or something like that. One of the venue people started rushing around trying to finish and I told him to take his time, I was mellow. He said "That's why we like you." They keep referring business to me, but I can guarantee that if I was demanding they wouldn't. It's a matter of figuring out what's important and what you can let go, and if the venue the OP is working with does cupcakes one way, there's no reason to push it unless it's super important to her. You just have to decide whether it is or not.

MimiFix Posted 10 Jul 2014 , 3:42pm
post #11 of 15
Originally Posted by costumeczar 
 
... They keep referring business to me, but I can guarantee that if I was demanding they wouldn't. It's a matter of figuring out what's important and what you can let go, and if the venue the OP is working with does cupcakes one way, there's no reason to push it unless it's super important to her. You just have to decide whether it is or not.

 

Ah, again costumeczar is the voice of reason... There is a tendency on this forum to think in a narrow way. We certainly don't want people to take advantage of us, but we must always be respectful of others. Successful business owners understand they are not the center of the universe. 

costumeczar Posted 10 Jul 2014 , 4:32pm
post #12 of 15

Quote:

Originally Posted by MimiFix 
 

 

Ah, again costumeczar is the voice of reason... There is a tendency on this forum to think in a narrow way. We certainly don't want people to take advantage of us, but we must always be respectful of others. Successful business owners understand they are not the center of the universe.

why, thank you! I always think of you as a voice of reason on here, too.

KatrinaBroughton Posted 11 Jul 2014 , 4:24pm
post #13 of 15

Thank you everyone so much for your thoughts - I truly appreciate all the different perspectives/considerations! I definitely do NOT want to piss off the venue. I'm going to push gently when I get there, but I'll be ready with something for the coordinator to sign that says they arrived in good condition; and I'll take pictures of the boxes wherever they end up.

 

Unfortunately this means I won't be able to take a picture of the whole setup for my portfolio. I could set it up in my kitchen, but I hate handling cupcakes more than I have to to minimize damage.  This time I actually am doing the icing swirl inside the cupcake box so I don't have to worry about damaging the frosting after I swirl. Cupcake boxes are the bane of my existence - the holes are always a bit too big!

costumeczar Posted 11 Jul 2014 , 5:27pm
post #14 of 15

AYou could find out who the photographer is and get photos from them.

TheSugarLab Posted 13 Jul 2014 , 1:08am
post #15 of 15

I agree with costumeczar! Part of my contract has a space for the photographers's contact information. I typically wait about a months after the wedding to contact the photographer and see if they got any good shots of the cake. They're usually nicer than the shots I took after set-up and they have the nice lighting, if applicable. Which reminds me… I need to email some photographers. 

 

As for having a venue set-up…I don't think I would have a problem with someone else setting them up. I haven't heard of anyone eating the cupcakes before they are instructed but who knows. I did have a muslim bride who was worried about the cupcakes being eaten before they were supposed to. Their reception was running behind and I had showed up at the agreed upon time. The maid of honor and one of her friends help me set up the cupcakes quickly. Once we got them all set-up, the bride looks like she's going to have a panic attack over the cupcakes. Both the MOH and the mom of the MOH were trying to calm her down. No one even came up to the table as I was setting up. Some kids looked at it but they pretty much knew not to eat them. Didn't hear anything back from the couple but they have referred me to at least one couple so I'm assuming everything went well. 

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