Originally Posted by gatorcake
Since you don't have an act of god clause in your contract on my view she has a legitimate grievance. Your contract does not stipulate there would be conditions (or at least does not stipulate this condition) under which you would not be able to produce the agreed upon design. Just as you expect her to abide by the rental return clause, she expects you to abide by the agreement--which makes not exception for weather.
Also keep in mind she contracted for a cake not just cake. Yes the wedding cake was served however a wedding cake has multiple functions at a wedding--only one of which is serving cake. It also functions as an artistic center piece, the value of which is greater than the individual cost of the flowers. She was not provide the cake she requested. Kudos to you for all the effort to make good on the design, in the end however it was not what she ordered.
Well said, gatorcake. IMO, it's not just the lack of gum paste flowers that you "made an executive decision to not use... due to their appearance" and replace with real flowers. She asked for a specific cake design
and you agreed to it. Whether or not she's a "budget bride" you had an agreement to provide x amount of gum paste flowers and a specific design. When did you notice the gum paste flowers "wilting" and how far in advance did you make them? Could you have re-done them? Keep in mind that a lot of brides like to save their gum paste flowers/bouquets as a keepsake of their wedding. This obviously can't be done with live flowers and could be part of the disappointment on the bride's part... Maybe not in this case, but something to think about in the future.
May I ask you what gum paste recipe/brand you use? I'm wondering how your gum paste
flowers could have "wilted"? I could be totally wrong (and, if so, I stand corrected), but I've truly never heard of this nor experienced gum paste flowers "wilting" if done correctly even in high humidity. I've done lots down here in FL on very humid, rainy days with no problem...
Recently, I moved from Colorado (virtually NO humidity) to Florida (stinkin' humidity almost ALL the time!). So, believe me, I know the troubles involved with cake decorating in extreme humidity with the fondant recipe that I LOVED in CO! I've re-done several tiers (without even thinking twice) because of the detrimental effects of the humidity. But never any issues with gum paste flowers/decorations though...
Do you have a picture of the cake?
Also, as far as the bride's comment on your cake being "inedible", did you do a cake tasting with her? If so, did she love (and agree on) the taste of your cake at the consultation/tasting? If you didn't, you should probably make sure to offer tastings in the future on your website or wherever you advertise even if you got that client by "word of mouth" advertising. When you have your initial phone consult with them, you may want to advise him/her to make a tasting appointment (for a charge, of course) so there are NO excuses when the bride tastes the cake and says it's "inedible" or not what she asked for. Your statement "When leveling the cake I always taste the piece cut off to make sure the cake came out good. The cake tasted great, so I have no idea what she is talking about it being inedible
" doesn't necessarily mean the bride likes your
"taste". Know what I mean? Maybe she has a totally different taste. You'd be surprised at the different tastes people have. Some people really dislike "sweet" and would prefer it to be more on the "bland" side (or un-sweet for lack of better words) or some really don't like the "moistness" of a cake texture and say it was not baked enough or a light and airy cake is "too dry"...
On the other hand, good for you
that you have a clause that states "if the equipment rented is not returned within 5 days of the event they will be charged to replace the cake stand
". That's just plain mean on your customer's part for not returning the stand and sounds like vengeance on her part for not receiving what she paid for.
Also, it's good that you're asking for advice on contracts! I know, speaking for myself, there are plenty of trial and error moments in this biz. PLENTY! I'm really not trying to be mean... just trying to help (because you asked for it
I suppose the bottom line is, the customer may actually have valid reasons for their disappointments and desires to get compensated for a product that wasn't duly provided according to the agreement. We need to keep our eyes wide open and look at both sides of the coin in order to make appropriate business decisions and to simply make people happy (return business is a nice little "perk" as well!! Good luck!