Unfortunately this post is inspired by recent events. A well-known, local bakery was contracted to create a wedding cake. Well, contracted isn’t exactly the right word – they don’t do contracts.
If you are meeting with wedding professionals and the words “we don’t do contracts” escape their lips, I urge you to run the other direction.
If you simply MUST use said wedding professional, follow-up all communications in email form. “It was a pleasure meeting you today. I just wanted to confirm that xyz will be $$$…” and be sure to have an answer from them. An email just like that helped save a lot of money.
My Bride had a very specific vision of the cake she wanted on her wedding day – which she clearly communicated with me and the bakery in question in email form. Unfortunately due to some strange reason (the decorator thought the order was written wrong – excuse me?) the cake was delivered and it wasn’t right. The shape was right and the flavor was right (and delicious) but the colors were all wrong. My Bride was devastated.
The first reaction from the bakery was they delivered the correct cake as ordered, in spite of me telling them it was wrong (and even though I had verbally confirmed the details the day before) and that nothing could be done to correct it. I had been hoping they would tell me they simply delivered the wrong cake and would be bringing the correct one shortly. Nope. I followed up that phone call with a forward of the email with the order details highlighted as well as a picture of the delivered cake. Then I received a slightly more contrite email stating they had indeed made a mistake and offered a paltry sum as recompense (less than half the cost of the cake). I replied that seeing as the order was only half correct, I felt my couple should receive half their money back. I also let them know I would be forwarding the information to my couple and they would contact him directly.
I’ve since been told the bakery increased the refund amount but not to as much as half. If I had not had my Bride email me and the bakery with the details, I might not have been able to get her any money back. It would have become a case of he said she said and based on the bakery’s initial reaction – I don’t think they would have backed down.
It is important to note that I did not feel my couple was entitled to a full refund. The delivered cake was lovely and delicious even if the colors were all wrong. It is doubtful any of her guests knew anything was amiss. Requesting half her money back was fair and reasonable in this instance. Had the cake been completely wrong in shape, flavor, and color then I would have requested a full refund on her behalf.
Contracts not only protect you, but they protect wedding professionals as well. I don’t understand why or how someone can run a business without them. Please think twice before choosing a wedding professional without benefit of a contract – and find a way to protect yourself if you do.