I'm the Kathy who did the cakes the bride provided for examples of what she wanted and I don't mind you posting them. We don't always know where brides get their pictures from and that's one reason mine have my name on them before they go online.
And Shirley - thank you very much for posting that this is a copy of Colette Peter's original design. I started reading this thread and the first thing that popped into my head was that Colette needs the credit for the unique design, not me! I also give Colette credit under these pictures on my site. For anyone interested you can find the cake and instructions for it in Colette's Wedding Cakes, available on her website - http://www.colettescakes.com/book_wed_cc.html
Tatania - Amy is right that your piping is the main difference in the way your cake compares to mine and there is a very good reason for that - mine is not piped except for the words on the blue cake. Colette's original is also not piped. There is no way I can keep piping that straight while going over the edges and over that large of areas. I find that the larger I pipe scrolls the worse they look. The designs on these cakes are all done with chocolate paste, also called candy clay, chocolate leather or modeling chocolate. That's why mine are all so straight and look more textured. The bottom borders are done with chocolate paste ropes that were indented with a ball tool.
Where your bride mentions something being dry, I didn't take it as her complaining that the cake was dry, but that the frosting falling off was dry. She probably wouldn't be familiar with royal frosting and I could see someone seeing it as dry, especially if they expect it to be regular frosting.
Good learning opportunity for all of us - if a design requires royal frosting we should explain to the bride what it is and what will happen when it's cut. I've never thought of that before and I use royal for scrollwork most of the time.
The other big difference I see in your cake is the size of the tiers and without Colette's excellent instructions it would be very difficult trying to figure the sizes out from only a couple of pictures. Especially when those pictures show 2 completely different sizes. The brown and ivory one serves 350 people and the largest cake is an 18" layer that is 4" tall. The blue and ivory serves 162 and the largest tier is a 16" layer that is 3" tall. In both of my cakes you had for examples the layers all vary in height while yours are more even and while that changes the look some, your overall cake shape is similar. Most of my reproductions of this Colette design have been done with the half size due to the cost per serving so I made my own cutting instructions. I'll include part of it because it explains the tier size differences.
Due to the unusual heights of these tiers please use the following.
1. 5 tier - save for 1st anniversary (5x2")
2. 4tier - cut into 5 pie slice shaped servings (4x3")
3. 8 tier, 2 high cut slices 2 deep and 2 wide - 10 servings
4. 12 tier, 3 high cut slices 1.5 wide and 2 deep approx 40 servings
5. 16 tier, 3 high cut slices 1.5 wide and 2 deep approx. 75 servings
6. 6 tier - Cut into 6 pie slice shaped servings (6x2")
7. 8 tier, 3 high cut slices 1.5 wide and 2 deep 15 servings
8. 10 tier, 2 high cut slices 2 wide and 2 deep approx 12 servings
When I'm asked to copy someone else's cake I tell the customer that I can't promise an exact replica because everyone's decorating styles are different. I can't even promise to match one of my own designs exactly because changing sizes or colors can change a look so much and matching all the detail exactly is nest to impossible.
Tatania - only you can decide how to handle this bride's complaints. You know how hard you worked on this cake and you know what she was expecting. Try to decide what outcome you will feel best about 6 months from now and then respond to her complaint the best way you can to get that outcome.
Ashley - thanks for posting the link to my site. That's how I found this thread.