Saturday, May 28, 2011

Un-Just Deserts

When we started planning our wedding the first time we had lots of company, my best friend and Mike's sister were both planning their weddings. It was fun to have people to discuss wedding plans with. Sometimes we would even visit vendors together. The girls all got together for lunch one afternoon and went to see the florist. It was a lovely time, but the next attempt at a group visit a wedding vendor went over like a lead balloon.

We decided to make the cake tasting a double date. I made an appointment at what I was told was the best place for wedding cakes in town. Mike's sister and her fiance met us there and from the minute we walked through the door I knew we were in trouble.

Again, maybe tv did me a disservice because I thought all bakeries were like Charm City Cakes just ready and waiting for the next challenge. Ace of Cakes made this place look like an IRS office. It was a decidedly more somber feel. The dusty display cakes were all very traditional white tiered things. The woman who greeted us was another troll. This time in temperament only, so it caught me off guard. Why do so many of them go into wedding related businesses? Or does working in weddings turn you into a troll, neither of the ones I encountered were spring chickens.

She asked us to wait in a curt manner unbefitting our unbridled enthusiasm. I don't know what we did to rub her the wrong way right off the bat, but she clearly sized us up and found us wanting. When she was ready she carried the samples on a tiny paper plate over to a round table with a white table cloth.

Now, Mike and I had a miscommunication and I got all chocolate samples, but he wanted flavored white cake. When we inquired while tasting chocolate if they had white cake they could flavor mint chocolate her dislike for us intensified. We hadn't meant to "waste her time" it had simply been a miscommunication. I can't imagine it doesn't happen all the time since in most cases the bride and her mother plan vendor appointments and men always have strong opinions on food. She informed us with annoyance dripping from her tone that they couldn't do that.

Having been in a position many times where I want something that's hard to come by and having worked in sales I waited for her to offer alternative options. She simply sat. I decided to take a new approach at this point. I didn't have a clear picture of what I wanted for the design of the cake, but I knew I wanted it to be asymmetrical.

I can't be the only bride because there are some perfectly conservative wedding cakes that happen to have off kilter layers.

She looked at a picture I brought of a topsy turvy cake and said, "we don't do that." I was floored. Was this woman the worst salesperson on the planet or did she just hate us? She went on to explain that they didn't work with non-edible elements inside the cakes which is what you would need to support such a cake. Um...huh. So, I asked if we could at least have tiers in a shape besides circles. She told me they would do square or hexagon shaped tiers. It took her a while to find an example in her book at my request. Their books seemed pretty out of date in general featuring large cakes with plastic columns separating tiers and tiny wedding parties on staircases leading down to the table. There was even a cake with a fountain on it. Hello, 1985 wants it's cake back, thanks.

It didn't get any better from there. Being a problem solver Mike got out a pencil and tried to sketch something asymmetrical that could support itself. She shot down three or four of his suggestions without offering any alternatives. I was starting to get depressed. Was what I wanted so weird and impossible? Was the whole wedding planning process going to be this way?

In the end they didn't have a flavor like what we were looking for and the best they could offer designwise was hexagonal tiers stacked facing different directions. They didn't have anything with climbing vines as the decorative element to show me and we didn't press it. She barely mumbled goodbye and I'm sure was relieved to see us go.

In the car the depression turned into rage. How dare they treat us that way! My requests weren't unreasonable. I shouldn't be made to feel bad because I don't want what most brides want. GRRR... Maybe with more research I would have known they only do uncomplicated, conservative cakes there and I would have gone elsewhere from the beginning. They lost not one, but two weddings that day (not counting the brides deterred by the scathing post I left on knot warning others).


  1. Geez that lady was heinous!

  2. I would've walked out. They don't deserve your business. Jerks! Small businesses are often the solution. Or even asking friends if they know anyone who makes cakes. If you find a recipe for cake on-line small bakeries or a person you find may be able to turn it into the cake you want.

    Good luck!

  3. True, and it's not the first time I've been burned by word of mouth. Research always trumps the hype.

  4. While a topsy-turvy cake does require wooden dowels as support (otherwise, it will really slide apart), that woman sounds hideous. Cake decorators, speaking from experience :), are generally happy, lovely people who enjoy their art. I hope you have a better experience somewhere else. If I were closer, I'd do it for you! :)

  5. Thanks, in the end we're not doing topsy-turvy so much as asymmetrical tiers. The woman I'm working with says "Don't feel bad about wanting the moon. I guarantee I was 100% worse." It's a good fit.


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