ive been curious about how to handle this situation.
i recently delivered to a barn wedding in 90+ degree weather.
i had advised the bride before hand that the heat would be a concern, and had asked if there would be a cool place to store the cake before the reception.
once I arrived at the venue, I spoke with the mother of the bride and again advised that the cake be stored indoors until the reception time.
They didn’t take my concerns seriously, and the heat got the best of the buttercream.
they are upset, rightfully so as I would be too if my beautiful cake melted, but is this my fault? Should I take the blame? If not, how should I go about explaining this to the bride?
It is absolutely not your fault. You raised concern about the heat with the bride, and with the mother on the day of.....they didn't listen to you, as the professional, and now they're upset? Go figure. Were you able to place it somewhere cooler, or were you told to just leave it? I have it in my contact that once the cake has left my hands and has been delivered, I am not responsible for any damage. Meaning, don't call me when you don't listen and the icing slides off your cake, or if someone decides it would look better by the window in direct sun. I personally would just explain it to her yet again. Is she wanting a refund? A new cake? A discount on a future cake?
I definitely agree with the other poster
ypierce82 is spot on. You in no way bear responsibility for this situation. Personally, I will no do a barn function. Even if it is air conditioned, it never seems adequate.
Thank you, ladies. I want to add, do not let them guilt you in to taking the blame, either. Now had you NOT suggested it be stored elsewhere, or informed them on what will happen; that's a different scenario. I'm hoping someone will come along and give you a tactful way to respond because I can't lol
I do agree that you did nothing where you should refund or make another cake or anything —
next time though instead of “the heat will be a concern” at the consult i’d say, “your cake will melt” and pause until they reply — to be sure you have their attention —
me, I had this happen in an unusual way —- a family wedding and the mob called in advance to make sure it was ok to use disposable plates for the cake to be served on — sure, of course — I din care — however no one mentioned the last minute plan that the cake would be displayed outside in June in Southern California :)
so I kept it boxed til the last minute — it was only in the high 80’s and all was well —
but that’s another thought — I said on my order blank that I reserved the right to produce the cake to the best of my ability — so I would have never approached the mob day of — I would have taken care of the whole thing and made sure it got set up late and served first —
but I was pretty good about discouraging outdoor cakes — when I knew about them in advance — so that was weird to me that they thought to ask about the type of plates but not the outdoor switcheroo —
so I told my brides that “yes it’s common to see photo shoots of outdoor cakes — it still doesn’t mean the forces of nature take a break just cause it’s your wedding day — the sun still shines, cakes melt, bugs swarm, birds poop and the wind at the beach sprays sand— oh by the way where did you say you want the cake table?”
That’s insane! Do you have a contract that references leaving the cake outside? Like, “if you choose to leave your cake outside, you understand we are not responsible for anything that may happen to the cake, be it heat, weather, animals, etc.”?
You clearly gave them enough verbal reminders!!
Definitely not your fault, but I agree with K8 that you should be abundantly clear that a cake will melt in the heat.
I did an outdoor farm wedding this past June. The bride wanted to leave the cake out for an hour on display before cutting it. The very first thing I told her was that it might melt. The heat and setting definitely factored into the end design of the cake. She went with an IMBC covered semi-naked cake decorated with fresh flowers. Before the contract was signed I made sure there would be a refrigerator available to store the cake between delivery and display (no air conditioner in the building and I was delivering the cake at noon for an early evening reception). I repeated at least a dozen times to the bride, the MOB, the aunt of the groom whose farm it was, and the wedding planner that the cake should stay refrigerated for as long as possible, and that once it's taken out for display, the caterers should keep a close eye on it. If it starts to show signs of melting, it should be taken back inside or cut right away. It ended up being a very hot and humid day, but it all worked out great.
I also include the following clause in my contract:
Once the cake had been delivered and set up, the care and condition of the cake becomes your responsibility. [Baker] is not liable for any damage that may occur thereafter, including someone bumping the table, a stand or table breaking or collapsing, damage that may occur due to weather conditions including heat, humidity, or insects, or any other possible causes. You are responsible for providing an appropriate and secure table and environment for the cake(s). Cakes are heavy and require a sturdy table and optimal room temperature of 75 degrees or below.
When I deliver a cake, I do the setup, stack any tiers that weren't stacked for transport, finish decorating, then make sure a responsible party (wedding planner, MOB, whoever paid for the cake) physically looks at the cake and signs off on delivery. And I take pictures before I leave.