Hi everybody! I am fairly new here, i am currently a home baker and dealing with a not-so-great cake situation.
This past weekend i made a wedding cake for a sweet couple. However, the cake was not so great. Originally they had requested the bottom tier to look like an old fort, complete with a rounded triangle shape, wooden planking on the sides and cannons on each corner (because of her workplace and the location of the wedding) and then top two tiers to be rounds. The decoration on the top tiers were supposed to be delft blue tiles in a band around each layer. To top it all off they wanted the bride on the topper to be wearing a hat similar to indiana jones' hat... I tried to talk them into doing all round layers, that it would look elegant and classy and it really would have! But that was declined... Some weeks after the initial request went by and they did the tasting to decide a flavor, everything was still with the original plan. Two weeks ago the groom emailed me and said that instead of any round layers they would really like it to all be the rounded triangles but no wooden fort theme for the bottom. I was relieved at this because i thought it would really look like a train wreck no matter how i did it with the original sketch.
The week of the wedding i went on making my fondat tiles and imprinting them with the blue design, they turned out great, slightly varrigated color but i thought they were pretty. Then comes the wedding day... At this point i am absolutely hating the appearance of the rounded triangles and cannot believe that i agreed to make such a thing, all my pretty stencil work is being marred by the shape of the cake...
I get to the venue with the cake (not yet stacked) and it sustained small damage on the ride over because of the warmth of the day. The bride and her entire party is in the venue where i am setting the cake up and about 50 other people, now all watching me. I overhear the bride say something to her girls about that she was "surprised by the cake." And it was "all the grooms choices". Which i had discussed mainly with the groom, but in any emails the bride had been sent a copy and included.... At this point i really wanted to run and hide.... I set the cake up, which even after repairs did not look up to my standard and of course i could not get over the ugly shape of the cake. The only bright side is i know the cake taste good! And it was exactly what at they (well, at least the groom) wanted! How do you deal with the struggle of what is pretty/nice and what they request?
I still have not recieved payment for it even though we had already discussed how much and when they needed to have it to me by... That is not helping my awful feelings either.
Okay to start with...I would not have stated baking unless a deposit was payed. Payment in full days/ weeks BEFORE the wedding, not AFTER. Quite frankly i fear you won'the see the money at all. Take this "running after money" as a lesson for next time.
Then...did you set up a contract, maybe with a drawing of the final design etc which was signed? At least by one of them? Side note: always confirm with the bride, she's normally the decision maker on the cake ;)
Now that being said. ..I feel for you. I always feel better if I like the design of the cake too and it's difficult to deal with people who have bad taste. On the other hand YOU are the professional and maybe should have advised them more strongly on what you feel looks good/better. If they won't listen...okay...They fault (or if you really really don't want your name associated with it, decline making the cake).
Again...as much as I feel for you...I think you learned some good lessons for the future! Good luck and I hope they'll pay you want you've agreed on.
Try not to feel too bad about it but, I'm with Julia, I doubt you will see the money for that cake. I require 50% of the value of the cake on booking, the balance 4 weeks before the wedding. No exceptions (unless very close friends but even still, they have to pay before I turn on the oven). There are times when you hate the cake. I did a competition piece last year which, despite winning a Gold medal, I hated. Lol. It just didn't come out how I pictured it. I had a bride want some colours which, while kindof funky, I didn't like. You have to balance 'their taste' with how it should be.
From a delivery point of view, I don't mind people watching BUT i ask them to stay a fair way away. Not because of the watching, but if one of them sticks a foot out or something, I could trip and fall over, damaging the cake in the process!! Not a good look...
It sounds like you learned a lot but try not to worry too much. If you didn't like it, just don't put it on your website! xx
Julia, Yes there was a contract. In all the communication the groom would make comments saying that him and the bride had discussed and they wanted X, or that she would like to change X. I guess assuming she was actually in the loop was a wrong thing to do? I am not a secretive person and would definitely keep my fiancee in the loop with everything even if he didn't want to know it, haha. Lesson 1: Never safe to assume all parties have communicated!
After several attempts to get them to go with something that would have looked better they (i guess he, actually) would not budge on the odd elements of the cake... I hope that they did like it, despite my view of it. I couldn't read the bride on if her surprise was bad or good, she is not the most expressive person... I also hope she understands that it is what he asked for... I cant imagine her not asking him about the cake AND not reading any of the emails that were sent to her and him later after the design was changed. Lesson 2: people act differently when it comes to weddings. haha!
Snowflakebunny23, I think because i was dissatisfied with the shape of the cake, i did not want to be seen with it haha. I just wanted to drop it and get out of there, especially after seeing so many people there! If it was one I thought was pretty then i would have proudly carried it in there and set it up... Would have been a total different story! At this point i am afraid I will not see the money either. Definitely many lessons learned with this cake. I have never had problems with people not wanting to pay - other than those who think that i overcharge and proclaim costco/sams/walmart has cheaper options. Which i do not end up making anything for, as there is not much reasoning with them...
Okay that's good. At least there is a contract which gives you the option to take legal action if they don't pay. If you wanna do that...
But anyway, best of luck for the future and happy baking lots of PRETTY cakes, lol!
sfb -- good advice to not put it on your website but one time i did a cake i hated and then the customer kept asking when i was gonna post it on there -- oy -- so I had to they were persistent -- oh the agony! heheheheh
Thank you Julia! Every cake is a new adventure, that is for sure!
K8memphis, I really don't think it is going on my site nor in my portfolio. Maybe a picture of the stencil details but not the whole thing. I hope they do not ask me to put it on my site if they love it! if they do maybe i will state that the bride and groom loved it in bold lettering at the beginning of the post! Hahahaha. Also, i am glad i am not the only one who has done a cake that i hated! Thank you for sharing! :)
Yeah- what can you do when a couple has terrible taste!? Once I did a cake that the design itself was fine- but the bride's color choices didn't match AT ALL!! I was really curious as to what the bridal party looked like in their photos, 'cause the cake colors were aweful! (my colors perfectly matched her color swatches) As I was decorating a friend walked into my shop and commented that this cake was quite possibly the ugliest cake ever! LOL
Anywho- sorry this had to happen to you. It always sucks when we have to learn the hard way. :/
if you delivered what the groom ordered, you did your job. Don't feel bad about that, but never deliver a cake that hasn't been paid in full. I'd start sending invoices to the groom today.
Everybody has done cakes that they don't like, because no matter what people think about it, the cake isn't yours. It's the customer's, and it's their choice. If they want something hideous (to you) you can either pass on the job or take the job, but if you take it you're not responsible if you've suggested alternatives and they've rejected them. Let he bride and groom sort that out, but you need to get paid at this point, so let that be your focus. whether YOU liked the cake or not isn't relevant to collecting the fee for your services.
Cakedout, that sounds like it would be pretty bad. It is really hard to understand what people are thinking sometimes. Maybe the bride was partially color blind?! Haha...
costumczar, that is bery true and great advice. It made me feel much better to think of it that way. Is there a best way to do an invoice? I usually just type it up letter style to the couple quoting what we style we decided on and the price as well.... I have never had to send two to the same couple before...
Sorry to read of your experience!! What a nightmare!!
Ive also got cakes that have never seen the light of day anywhere... We are very hard on ourselves , but we need to be kinder to ourselves in our strive for perfection and to realise we all have off moments in design. Writers do too. Xxx
I got paid! It came in 9 days late and I would say that I am definitely a very lucky lady, but i still got paid! Learned so much with this experience.
im very curios to see how the cake turned out! or at least the design
im sorry this happened to you. did they end up saying if they liked it or not ?
They did not ever say... I like to know either way if they like it or not. I actually do not have a picture of the finished cake, just this one from the halfway point when i had just started decorating... I was so frustrated/upset when i delivered it and just wanted to get out of there! But you can tell how awkward the shape of it was, which was the shape they requested.... regardless of what i recommended. Then it had two more tiers decorated the same. I also piped between the 'tiles' and over the top of them to make it look cleaner/neater and nice and finished. I loved the stamped fondant part and how that turned out, I will definitely use that technique again. The trip to the venue is quite a story too, haha. geeze this ugly cake!
i love your tiles they are amazing
Nice tiles!! Wish I could have seen the picture of the finished cake!! Me, myself, I love flower cakes which I think are beautiful!!
Thank you guys!
Remnant3333 I love flower cakes too, I haven't done many of them. They aren't very trendy right now... I like traditional and sleek designs.
Omg I will so be doing a tile cake now! Those are beautiful!
Im having a hard time picturing a tiled cake with anything else than a toilet or bathtub on it. Maybe a grecian pitcher?
Brookebakescake, they were really easy to do too! I so wish it had been a round or square wedding cake... I think then it would have been amazing. Mine were pretty big 2 1/4inches, but you can make them smaller and do anything, any color. A picher would be pretty, or combined with flowers would be beautiful!
Just consider this cake "practice", but the best kind of practice because YOU GOT PAID!! Yay!!
i actually really love the tiles!!!! tips on how you made them ? and how much ahead of time for them to dry ?
if only the cake was a square it would have turned out beautiful
I like your tiles...I guess that I am surprised that you baked and more or less had a terrible time with this cake from someone that didn't even pay you up front....I learned from a lady with 31 yrs experience and her policy has followed me....1/2 down to place the order and save the date and the other half to be paid at least 30 days in advance of baking...if its a last minute cake all monies need to be paid up front at time order is placed....I hope they pay you, but the public is hard to deal with and some will jump at any excuse they can find not to pay.
Kandyslife, I have a short How-to on my blog https://sweetsbybailey.wordpress.com/2015/09/24/stamped-fondant-tiles-how-to/ As far as drying time goes.. I did these two days in advance, but the 'ink' was completely dry at about 24hr. They are not very storage friendly! i kept them stacked with paper towel in between and stored them in a plastic container until i was ready to put them on and it worked fine. But a few I had left over the next day had bled, I assume from the humidity we had.... I couldn't agree more, it could have been stunning I think if it was square!
I am definitely adopting a new policy -or two- on payment and putting more specifics into my contract to cover myself.