Before you catch me donning my Green floral super hero cape, LOL , I have to say that I love my work and clients and always go the extra mile for them. But there are some weddings that just touch me , and I truly have a bond with the bride after many weeks or months of designing and meetings. The hopes and visions of what will be their big day is a big task, but so enjoyable for me. It’s a very big responsibility, that I always take seriously.
But sometimes I am called upon to perform above and beyond, and pull fellow talented vendors out of the proverbial fire when things go wrong behind the scenes. Things that the wedding planner doesn’t want the bride to see or know until every alternative is exhausted. Such was a recent wedding in California.
Arriving in Temecula Wine country on a beautiful Spring morning we set about delivering and setting up an all organic wedding for a wonderful couple who are very Eco Friendly. All through the design process we had added fine touches and whimsical elements to thrill the senses and delight the eye. It was a task my crew and I were looking forward to for weeks. This wedding would be truly creative.
We put the finishing touches on the Reception room and ceremony garden, with its unique mix of Veggies and flowers and checked bows and posies on all chairs and I told my crew to take five.
I was just opening a bottle of water for a sip when my Blackberry goes off with a 911 from the wedding planner.
I answered and asked “Yes?” and she says “Suzanne we have a problem!!!” I asked “What do you need?” her response was ” The cake arrived”, ( I had been waiting to see this gorgeous Fondant and Gum paste creation for over a month) So I said ” Okay, I’ll be right there”, then she paused and said. “They had an accident! “
WHAT? ??? How BAD?” She said its “Not Good! Get over to the reception room and Bring flowers!!! ” So I turned to my assistant Terry and we each grabbed a bucket and I called over my shoulder to the crew, “Meet me with snips and scissors ASAP! ”
I had no idea what to expect. I have seen some minor dings and even a missing in action cake in the past. But these two young pastry chefs looked like they were in a panic.
They had been on the way to the winery when they were cut off and slammed on the brakes only to have this 4 tier cake slide and crash into the dash . Although they were fine, The entire back of the cake was now a mass of gouged, chunked, split and dinged Fondant. The lovely hand painted Artichoke petals made of fragile gum paste had been crushed and shattered in several spots. Their panic grew when they realized that the cake was the focal point of the center of the reception room!! Could it be any worse? Yes they had to call their boss and the designer of this masterpiece to explain!
I could see they were actually shaking as they tried everything to attach the loose petals and try to stop the fondant from slipping. Being the Seasoned Pro, I knew that panicking wasnt in anyones best interest, so I told them both to “Take a deep breath” Lets access the damage and address the possibilities. As they pointed out the major base and teir damage, I made mental notes on the sizes and directed my team to start cutting as many green mums, purple asters and lavender roses as we had left. I went to the bridal table and removed 4 large green Spider Mums from table garland and replaced them with Calla lilies. It was a Good exchange for a better cause.
And We started to work on the repair.
As they carefully tried to replace the Gum paste Artichoke leaves with what was salvagable , I set the largest flowers in place to cover the huge dent on the base tier. I then worked up the cake adding and camouflaging with blossoms and greenery until it started to look like it was meant to have these spilling flowers and greenery details. It is an artistic process. It took us some time to get it looking presentable. I asked the pastry gals to walk around it and see if it was to thier expectations, and between us we added a bit of vine here and a little blossom there, and as we finished one of the winery staff came in and said “WOW what a gorgeous cake”, and walked around it to see the entire design.SO, If this person who did not know we had just had a near catastrophy was wowed, I think the guests would be thrilled too. That was nice.
One of the pastry gals said “Can I hug you?” I laughed and said “sure, It was a team effort” But I will bet they have a few restless nightmares over that cake in the future.
My point to this isnt to pat myself and my team on the back, but to say that hiring a professional floral designer who can deliver more than just the bouquet when a crisis arises is a plus. The Professional event florist is a unique individual who is trained to step up when needed, access the situation and come up with a creative solution in a timely manner to make you look good.
Quick thinking by the wedding planner, good communication with me and My Mother Earth attempt at Nurturing the creative ones in a panic came together to make our Brides day less bumpy.
Did I charge for my “emergency” work at the last minute? No!
But my crew is expecting a box of cupcakes if the bakery is reading this!! LOL