I'm looking for a bit of advice. I delivered a wedding cake today, hadn't been paid in full only deposit, so I thought perhaps that they were going to pay when I got to the venue. ( before any lectures I know I should be paid in full before I turn my oven on :( ) anyway no one was there.
I sent an invoice and cake order form to the customer about 4 weeks before the event and wrote down the due date and the year.
Ive arrived back home with a wedding cake, I've messaged the customer no reply yet. Im now thinking the worse and maybe it's next year they wanted it for. What's the next step of it was for next year? Do I have any rights regarding money?
so you went to deliver but kept the cake? do i have that right? wow a lot of things can/could have happened -- they mighta called it off -- coulda changed the date as you suggested -- who knows -- i'd donate the cake somewhere and keep the deposit forever and if they ever contact you start the whole thing over and get the moola first as you also suggested --
best to you
So sorry this happened to you. Do you have a signed contract or any kind of paper trail showing what date the cake was ordered for. Try to find any emails, check carefully to make sure the error is not on your end. Its not looking good for you, since no one was at the venue. You may have to take the loss and chalk this one up to lesson learned. Not trying to be harsh but no response to an email after a month requires a follow up phone call on your end. I am a hobby baker so perhaps the experts will have better news for you. Again I feel your pain, but I know you will do things differently next time.
Sorry honey, if this is your error you have no rights to money and you owe them the deposit back.
Nightmare, no lecture, just sorry this happened to you. Come back and tell us what happened.
I would call them to find out what happened. Maybe the couple broke up or you may have the date wrong. You need to search your paperwork and see what date they confirmed.
I am in hopes that it is their mistake, not yours!! If the couple broke up they should have had the decency to call you before hand to let you know not to go to all the trouble of making their cake. Do you have a picture of the cake? Would love to see it. Anyway, please let us know what happened. Sorry that you are going through this!! It has got to be pretty frustrating being in the dark not knowing what is going on!!!
No lecture, but you just learned a lot the hard way. If I send an invoice for a wedding cake and get no response I call the venue to see if the wedding is still on. If it is, I call the bride and leave a message saying that the balance is due. If I get no response after that I call one more time and leave a message saying that the balance is overdue (which by that time it probably is) and that I'm cancelling the order because there's been no response and I'm assuming that they've made other arrangements for the cake. I also say that I'll email to confirm that they received the message. I guarantee you that if they do still want the cake they'll get back to you then.
You should also get a contract in place and have all of your customers sign it. It should have the bride and groom's emails and phone numbers, plus any other contact information that you can get, including the mother of the bride, wedding planner, venue coordinator and maid of honor. If you ever have to call someone on the day of the wedding you don't want it to be the bride, you want to have the number of someone who won't freak out.
The contract should also have a very detailed description of how much money is due when, what is refundable under what circumstances, and what is non-refundable. Also note any overdue fees, fees for last-minutes changes, and when the last date that changes can be made is (to prevent last-minute design changes.)
If the bride doesn't get back to you you're pretty much out of luck at this point. Donate the cake to a local homeless shelter or a Ronald McDonald house if there's one near you, they'll appreciate it.
An added note, in 20 years of doing wedding cakes I've had brides change their dates and not tell me, I've had brides cancel the weddings and not tell me, and I've had brides try to get a cake without paying me the final balance. You have to be strict with it because the only times I've had to put my foot down and demand payment before I delivered the cake I later found out the the vendors who went ahead and delivered things never got paid. In one situation the bride cancelled the wedding AFTER the rehearsal dinner because she found out the groom had been gambling away all of their money. I had spent the Wednesday before on the phone with the wedding planner who was begging me to make the cake, and having payment for it coming in in bits and pieces over paypal all day. The only reason I even did it was because I knew the planner and she begged me to do it, but even then I wasn't going to do it without getting payment in advance. The florist delivered about $1500 worth of flowers and never got paid for it because she was being nice about it. Don't be nice about it!
Thank you for all your replies everyone. Costumczar thanks for all the information, I'll be adding more policies to my contract.
The bride actually stated the wrong date to me. She said she would pay for the whole wedding cake as mistake on her behalf, but actually I didn't take full payment off her, just enough to cover cost of ingredients etc.
Whew!!! You dodged a big bullet there and had a great person on the other end who took responsibility for the mistake in dates. Congrats on having a reasonable outcome to the "mistake cake".
So.... who gets the cake? Are you donating it or did you just give it to the almost-bride?
I'm trying to find someone to donate it too. :-) the bride was really genuinely sorry and lovely.
So happy this had a good ending for you, and nice to know there are decent people out there. How about your local Firehouse or nursing home?
Donation ideas if within driving distance (call first):
Ronald McDonald House (call first, they may require commercial kitchen/license proof)
Homeless distribution program with a freezer
nursing home staff (Donated cakes can be given to the 24 hour staffing. Patients are often not able to eat donated cakes because of dietary restrictions, but the staff is ALWAYS grateful!)