1St Real Wedding Cake!!!

Business By tessholly1 Updated 6 Jan 2015 , 2:31pm by Snowflakebunny23

tessholly1 Posted 1 Jan 2015 , 4:23pm
post #1 of 31

AHi all :) Looking for some advice!! Long story short, iv just received my 1st order for a wedding cake that isn't a friend or family.. However the client has explained that as part of her wedding package the venue supplies her with a 2 tier wedding cake, covered in just white fondant!! She is allowed to collect the cake a few days before her wedding in order to get it decorated and has asked me to do this for her!! I have no problems with the actual decorating of the cake but would really appreciate some advice/tips on how to approach the consultation part!! Should I offer a 1 on 1 consultation even though it's just for decoration and not an entire cake and tasting etc or should I just communicate all through email!! Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.. I just want to make sure I'm conducting myself in a professional manner!! TIA :)

30 replies
melmar02 Posted 1 Jan 2015 , 4:54pm
post #2 of 31

She's going to pick up a cake a few days before the wedding? How old is that cake going to be by the time it is served at the reception? I would have a hard time working with this situation, because there are a TON of external variables. I would be worried the cake would be dry by the time served, not prepared/stacked properly, transported by a client, etc, etc... and now my name is associated with it if any of these things are not perfect. I would only proceed if you are familiar and comfortable with the venue's baking reputation. If so, then I don't see the need for a one on one consult. I think this could be done via phone and email. If she only wants something simple, she may not even need to pick it up and bring it to you to decorate. It only takes a couple of minutes to add ribbon and a few flowers. Of course then, it may not be worth the money for your time. If you do decide to go through with this, I would also contact the catering manager to make sure you know the exact sizes of the tiers and the type of board it is on. 

leah_s Posted 1 Jan 2015 , 5:51pm
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I wouldn't want my name associated with that.  Pick it up a few days before the wedding?  no . . .just no.

Jedi Knight Posted 1 Jan 2015 , 7:09pm
post #4 of 31

AJust. Say. No.

tessholly1 Posted 1 Jan 2015 , 8:00pm
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AOk so iv taken all your advice and explained that I can't decorate a cake that I haven't made myself and that I would be more than happy to discuss a complete wedding cake made by myself to fit within her budget!! Sound ok?! I'm so nervous, still only just a year into my business and have never had to say no before lol!!

melmar02 Posted 1 Jan 2015 , 8:47pm
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AGood for you; saying no can be a hard thing to learn. That skill will save you a lot of all nighters!

-K8memphis Posted 1 Jan 2015 , 8:58pm
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what you could offer is to make some flowers that she could pick up in advance and place on the cake but yeah good call to pass on carrying it around and dealing with it -- sounded creepy to me

Pastrybaglady Posted 2 Jan 2015 , 3:35am
post #8 of 31

AK8 has a great idea there - you can offer a topper and some fondant or gumpaste flowers.

cakesbycathy Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 2:15pm
post #9 of 31

Good for you for turning down the cake made from the venue!!

 

I wouldn't offer to make anything for the cake.  People are not going to ask "who made the decorations?"  They are going to ask "who made the CAKE?"  How do you answer that?  If you say the venue, then you get no credit for the decorating.  If they say you did it and the cake tastes horrible, then your reputation takes a hit.

 

Stick with decorating only cakes you make yourself!

leah_s Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 5:19pm
post #10 of 31

^ this.

-K8memphis Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 5:43pm
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maybe it is better to side step the whole thing -- but in general if you are in business you want to at least consider how you can accommodate the person who calls & wants to give you money -- certainly not all callers will become customers -- and this one seems weird saw dusty to have a cake ready that early -- but one of your goals is to transfer the money from their wallet to yours as often as possible -- food for thought -- best to you

sweetassugarcak Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 8:40pm
post #12 of 31

Although receiving your first cake order is exciting under the circumstances I would definitely insist on creating the cake from scratch. We have been approached under similar circumstances with customers asking if a friend can bake and cover the cake whilst we decorate. One problem could be that the cake supplied is finished to a poor standard which leaves you to do your best to rectify the issue. If the decoration is very simple such as just a few flowers covering the errors made by the venue will be very difficult and the customer will hold your partly responsible for the errors made regardless whether they had anything to do with the decoration you completed or not.

 

If you complete it from scratch you can be sure everything is finished to your high standard and use every image of the cake for your future portfolio.

CindiM Posted 3 Jan 2015 , 8:56pm
post #13 of 31

I have rule to never do "part" of anything.  I do it all or I don't play. 

810whitechoc Posted 4 Jan 2015 , 11:00am
post #14 of 31

I know you are excited about getting a wedding order, but this would be a definite no for me.  This sounds weird why would they offer a cake without any decoration.  Most of the time when venues offer a cake as part of the package you get to chose from a few different designs not just an undecorated cake, walk away and let it be somebody else's potential disaster.  Hang in there you will get your first wedding and it will be a genuine order not this slightly suss one.

-K8memphis Posted 4 Jan 2015 , 11:53am
post #15 of 31

Ai'm just gonna guess that maybe the bride wants decor the venue doesn't offer -- so it falls into the category of 'help a girl out here' -- for the venue a package is a package -- they're not going to change it but they will cooperate -- and the bride just wants a certain decor --

i mean if she wanted ribbon borders on a 'simple' cake why contact op -- is this right, op? surely the venue doesn't usually send their brides with cake in hand out to the highways and byways searching for a decorator - idk

costumeczar Posted 4 Jan 2015 , 8:58pm
post #16 of 31

I'll be the voice of dissent...The OP didn't say where she was located, so it's possible that the cake might be a rich fruitcake if she's not in the US? That would make a lot more sense than an American butter cake being passed around. I could be wrong, but that would be my guess.

 

Anyway, why don't you tell the bride that you could decorate the cake with simple sugar flowers if the venue will be okay with you going in to their location to do it? You could contact the venue directly, introduce yourself and tell them that you're working with the bride and that you'd like to come in to put some gumpaste flowers on the cake. That way you're making some money, you get an intro to the venue, and while you're at it, you can talk to the venue coordinator about possibly having you decorate their basic white cakes for other brides. They might be interested in some kind of package that they can offer the brides to make their service more attractive.

 

There's a country club here that bakes their own cakes, then they hire someone to come in and decorate them. You could try to work something out like that, why not?

 

If you're not going to get the business anyway because the brides already have a cake included, you might as well get some business out of it, and it could lead to more in the future if you play it right.

-K8memphis Posted 4 Jan 2015 , 9:44pm
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis 
 

what you could offer is to make some flowers that she could pick up in advance and place on the cake but yeah good call to pass on carrying it around and dealing with it -- sounded creepy to me

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pastrybaglady 

K8 has a great idea there - you can offer a topper and some fondant or gumpaste flowers.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by -K8memphis 

i'm just gonna guess that maybe the bride wants decor the venue doesn't offer -- so it falls into the category of 'help a girl out here' -- ...surely the venue doesn't usually send their brides with cake in hand out to the highways and byways searching for a decorator - idk

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar 
 

I'll be the voice of dissent...

If you're not going to get the business anyway because the brides already have a cake included, you might as well get some business out of it, and it could lead to more in the future if you play it right.

 

you are welcome to dissent with us :-D great idea cc

Pastrybaglady Posted 4 Jan 2015 , 10:05pm
post #18 of 31

A[quote name="-K8memphis" url="/t/781424/1st-real-wedding-cake/15#post_7568911"]

Quote:

Originally Posted by [B]-K8memphis[/B] [URL=/t/781424/1st-real-wedding-cake#post_7568854][IMG]/img/forum/go_quote.gif[/IMG][/URL]

...surely the venue doesn't usually send their brides with cake in hand out to the highways and byways searching for a decorator - idk

Ha ha! I missed this along the way, love the imagery - hilarious!

tessholly1 Posted 5 Jan 2015 , 7:11am
post #19 of 31

AThank you all again for your ideas.. I'm in the UK so it's more than likely that the cake would be a rich fruit cake covered in fondant so wouldn't be so bad to be made a few days before!! However iv already declined the request but on the positive side the client has said that shes going to try and have the plain wedding cake taken out of her wedding package so she can then order the whole thing from me as she really wants me to do it, so that's nice to hear I guess :)

Snowflakebunny23 Posted 5 Jan 2015 , 9:08am
post #20 of 31

Glad to hear it!  I remember turning down my first wedding cake and was gutted but hey...so is life!  I actually had the opposite request the other day - A bride asked me to make, stack and cover the cake for her to then decorate.  Again, the response was a polite 'no'.  The mind boggles...

-K8memphis Posted 5 Jan 2015 , 11:31am
post #21 of 31

Asnowflakebunny -- of course i respect your decision but just in the spirit of my posts here my comment is thst that's easy money you've turned down --

and to op, i hope that works out wonderfully for you

Jedi Knight Posted 5 Jan 2015 , 12:15pm
post #22 of 31

A

Original message sent by -K8memphis

snowflakebunny -- of course i respect your decision but just in the spirit of my posts here my comment is thst that's easy money you've turned down --

And what, exactly, IS the *spirit of your posts*? and to op, i hope that works out wonderfully for you

-K8memphis Posted 5 Jan 2015 , 12:54pm
post #23 of 31
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jedi Knight 

 

 And what, exactly, IS the *spirit of your posts*?
 

 

you are asking in a rather uppity way but i will answer that i think op should have done the first cake especially knowing now that it's a fruit cake and that money is money -- my posts rhoughout the thread indicate this

tessholly1 Posted 5 Jan 2015 , 1:23pm
post #24 of 31

AI don't know for sure that is was a fruit cake, it's just a possiblity.. We never got in depth enough for me to find out anything more before I decided to go with the majority and pass!! Anyway while I have so many talented people here I was wondering if I could be cheeky and ask for more of your secrets lol, if the client does come back and order a complete cake instead, does anybody have an tips/advice on how to do a successful wedding cake consultation?! Iv only made wedding cakes for family & friends so for a real customer should I try and create some kind of package with forms or invoices for me to fill in during the consultation, a page to sketch the ideas?! Any and all help would be much appreciated once again :)

-K8memphis Posted 5 Jan 2015 , 1:56pm
post #25 of 31

Asure -- i use a tablet of order blanks from an office max type store -- then you can get a signature and hand them a copy --then i write all the facts and decisions on there: names, numbers, cake size, flavor, the date each of 3 payments is due and non-refundable non-transferable etc. --

i have a piece of paper for me to scribble/draw on -- i have a note card, an index card to give to the bride with 'homework' whether she needs to get me a ribbon swatch or a particle of info from the venue or her florist or whatever --

you might want to start with something like this -- best to you

-K8memphis Posted 5 Jan 2015 , 2:39pm
post #26 of 31

i also have a little blurb about cake portion sizes being approximately the size of a cupcake plus fillings and if they serve larger they need tor order more cake

and that no changes can be made after the last payment is made that extra cake can be ordered in 25 serving increments -- this might sound like a lot of writing but it's actually pretty concise the way i did it -- those were just the most important thing to me --

 

plus i always got extra phone numbers of groom and mob and chatted them up to find out where they worked if i could and whatever i could find out so that i could use it later to collect if necessary -- because i've been down that road where somebody didn't pay the last payment and it was up to me to ding the h out of their wedding or do the cake and collect later and so at the consult i get the info i might need some day -- 

tessholly1 Posted 6 Jan 2015 , 1:29pm
post #27 of 31

AWow, a lot to think about.. So would I sketch out the cake there and then so the client can see were working towards the same idea?! Then does the client take home the sketch or or I keep it to work from.. Or do I need to make 2 copies?! TIA :)

tessholly1 Posted 6 Jan 2015 , 1:32pm
post #28 of 31

AOh so sorry but 1 more important question.. Do you take the deposit at the consultation or do you go away to work out the total cost and then let client know how much they need to pay when?! What % do you do as deposit?

-K8memphis Posted 6 Jan 2015 , 1:33pm
post #29 of 31

i don't hand out my sketches -- others do after they get money down

leah_s Posted 6 Jan 2015 , 1:51pm
post #30 of 31

AI never handed out my sketches. And I was horrified a couple of times when brides brought other cake designers sketches to a consult with me. I politely declined to look at them, and tried to gently explain how unethical it was to shop a sketch around town. Intellectual Property and all. If the bride hasn't contracted with you, she has no rights to your work product.

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