Sometimes It's Our Job To Say No

There was a recent conversation online about a very unrealistic request from a bride to her decorator. The decorator got some good advice about telling the bride that it couldn't (or shouldn't) be done, but she brushed that advice off.

Her rationale was that "It's my job to figure out how to make her dreams come true."

No, no it's not.

It's our job as professional decorators to understand the limitations of the medium (cake), and to educate the customer about those limitations when necessary, while giving her alternatives if possible.

If the bride's dream is to have an ice cream cake at her beach wedding in July, it is not our job to do that. It's our job to tell her that it isn't a good idea, and to explain why.

You are never required to take a job if you know that the outcome is going to be a bad one. I have a friend who repeatedly told a bride that what she wanted wasn't possible, and the bride just ignored her and kept demanding that she do it. The bride finally said something along the lines of "Listen...The question is, are you going to do it or not?" My friend said "no" and was met with a shocked silence as the bride probably encountered the first person who refused to make her impossible dreams come true.

Here's the thing...If you go along with something that you know isn't a good idea because you're pressured into it by the customer, you have to remember that when things go wrong the customer isn't going to blame themselves. Oh, no. They'll blame YOU. Because you told them that it could be done, even though you knew that it was risky.

So take responsibility and tell customers if their idea isn't a good idea. Don't overpromise because that never turns out well. If you're the expert, you know what can and can't be done, and it's your responsibility to tell the customer what the limitations are.

Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC, custom wedding cakes in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at and

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