Kristin contacted me just 17 days prior to her wedding, the day before I was leaving town for Washington DC. She let me know that her baker was flying to Mexico for a funeral and would not be back in time for her wedding. Her wedding planner emailed me at the same time and described a different scenario, but whatever the situation, Miss Kristin was somewhat desperate.
I did not have time to meet with them prior to leaving for my cake trip so I emailed and asked if she had photos in mind for her cake. She did have some ideas that were very non-traditional and I always love that. I gave her a quote and told her if she were interested she would need to make a decision immediately and send a deposit while I was gone. I would be returning only a week prior to her wedding.
Unfortunately, the internet security seems to be tighter in DC than anywhere and my email to 3 different customers ended up in limbo for several days. Kristin was interested in using me as her cake designer but we decided she would just pay in full at our meeting, just 5 days before her wedding. I am very uncomfortable with last minute meetings because I don’t have time to build a relationship of trust and mutual respect with my brides, but that is another story. I was very excited to try something new.
The beautiful Damask with Sugar Flowers cake created by the Pink Cake Box
Kristin had chosen a design out of a bridal magazine by Anne Heap of the infamous Pink Cake Box. She chose the delicious flavors of Sour Cream Almond and Extreme Citrus with Lemon Curd filling with traditional Vanilla Buttercream and fondant.
Kristin wanted to change the main color to ivory, the ribbon and accent colors to Foil Chiffon, and she did not want to have as many sugar flowers as the original cake. She wanted the flowers to all be white instead of ivory to match her bridal bouquet of roses, hydrangea, and stephonotis with tiny edible pearl centers.
Chris’s cake was to match his turntables, complete with edible headphones, that he was using to play music at the reception. His was a delicious Chocolate Cake covered with Dark Chocolate Ganache and fondant.
Turntable Grooms cake for Chris
The reception was held at Marathon Village in Nashville. This is a truly unique venue on the third floor of the administrative building. This building was erected sometime around 1881, and some parts of the building are completely original. While this is very beautiful for photos, it poses certain issues for cake designers, caterers, planners, and even guests. It is a third floor walkup with no elevator. All items needed for the reception must be carried up. That can be a really big job, especially for food and drink!
The floors of the venue are made of very old slat boards, or crude hardwood flooring. It’s gorgeous but it definitely gives when walked across. It is extremely unsettling to set up any cake when the floor or table move so much, but especially so when the cake is not a typically stable design.
That being said, I was very confident that the cake looked good even though I took a tier apart and redoweled it for stability sake before I left. I was just not as comfortable as I usually am when I leave a venue. I took photos from all angles and held my breath somewhat until I heard from the planners a few days after the wedding who assured me the cakes looked great and as far as they knew the couple was very pleased.
My version of the cake with changes made in colors, flowers, etc.
A few years ago I would have panicked when I didn’t hear from the bride after the wedding, but I do not anymore. Some people do not think about feedback and only let you know if they are unhappy instead of how great everything was, which is why I am convinced now that “no news is good news”. Sadly, this was not the case for Kristin and Chris.
I was informed they were upset when I received and email on June 2 telling me I had a new review on weddingwire. I am always excited to get a new review, as not all brides take the time to review their vendors. I have made hundreds of cakes, but only became active on weddingwire last year so I am still in the process of building my reviews. The email does not tell you who sent a review, so I opened it with glee, knowing I had made many great cakes in April and May.
I was so dismayed to find that it was a very poor review from Kristin, my first bad one. I have to say that I was heartbroken. Her cake design was not one I would have chosen and it wasn’t my favorite, but I found myself defending that poor cake in my head. She showed me photos from the photographer taken later where the fondant looked bumpy instead of smooth and therefore the ribbons did not look even. She was upset that I chose to hand stencil her design on the sides of the cakes with edible luster dust so I could get the color just right instead of using fondant cut outs. I could have blamed the aesthetic problems on the shaking as people walked across the floor, but I didn’t. I simply put my big girl panties on and accepted the fact that the cake wasn’t the cake of Kristin’s dreams.
I emailed Kristin after being blindsided by the review and while I obviously could not do damage control after the review was already out there, her email was not nearly as harsh as the review. I felt it wasn’t fair to skip over a negative experience as I am a very honest person and I guess I needed to come clean with that situation. I have put it off a long time, which is partly the reason I am so far behind on my blogs. I just didn’t know what to say while still sounding professional and sorry she was upset. I’ve printed out all of our correspondence from beginning to end and will force myself to read it every once in a while just to keep myself grounded.
Kristin is a very hard worker and owns her own business as well. I am sure she’s terrific at customer service and we have both learned a valuable lesson from this experience. I wish her and Chris the best for their life together. I wish I could have made her happy, just as I aim to please all of my brides, but it will force me to work that much harder to keep every bride thrilled in the future.
Kristin and Chris, may your marriage never be bumpy and may your outlook on life together always be a positive one.