Monday, March 25, 2013

Gibson Girls wedding cake review; my experience

My daughter chose her wedding cake from Gibson Girls after winning a 30% discount from them at a bridal show last year. I postponed this article because I didn't want my frustration with the wedding cakes to completely trash them. They do have a nice reputation in other areas. Also, although there were problems, the wedding cake from Gibson Girls was pretty and I'm told that the cakes tasted okay. 
Sunflower wedding cake

The website above quotes a beginning price of $3.50 per slice, which seems to be on par for the Knoxville area. However; before plopping several hundred dollars on anything it's always smart to read reviews on Urbanspoon or Yelp and to get agreements in writing. My daughter didn't do that and the result was almost disastrous.

 The good.

Gibson Girls Southern Goodies gave a complimentary cake tasting. The gentleman was professional and the selection was good. We tried strawberry, white, red velvet and Italian cream cakes and we were offered our choice of either Nashville Tea or water to drink. He was courteous about our questions and each of the cakes tasted very good.

We were impressed when he gave my daughter's mother-in-law the recipe for the very sweet Nashville Tea (She phoned later after my daughter mentioned to her that she liked it.) Nothing foreshadowed the upcoming a near wedding cake disaster.

Gibson Girls wedding cake
My daughter's wedding cake was to have a layer each of strawberry, chocolate, and Italian cream. The groom's cake would be a chocolate shaped volcano. Gibson Girls assured her at the tasting that this would be no problem.

He made a couple notes on his calendar. I mentioned checking another place so we left without confirming. My daughter phoned later that day and confirmed the order with Gibson Girls.

The not so good.
You can see what my daughter wound up with on her wedding day. All of the layers were made out of Italian cream. My daughter was assured that she would get what she wanted (and mom-in-law paid for) but that never happened. All arrangements were verbal and she never secured a contract. We were pretty disappointed when the cake was cut at the reception. 

The bad.
Volcano groom cake
By now, you're probably wondering why cupcakes are on the table with  the groom's cake. Well guess what arrived late? Gibson Girls slid in the door and got the cakes set up and left minutes before our reception guests began to arrive.

Our caterer, mom-in-law, a groomsman and wedding coordinator tried to get in touch with Gibson Girls to no avail. He said later that the phone had accidentally been left at the business.

Cake receipt
My daughter's friend dashed to the grocery store and bought what she could find. Hence, the cupcakes you see in the photo.

I asked for a refund the delivery fee and to be reimbursed for the cost of the emergency cake. Gibson Girls did reimburse me for the cupcakes. Due to the high cost of gas they said that they were unable to do anything about the delivery fee.

So is Gibson Girls a bad company to deal with? Probably not. They got some things right. Although disappointing, upon reflection I think that written communication would have resulted in a more positive experience for everyone.

You hope that everything about a wedding reception will go smoothly. It's a nail-biting, hair-raising ride when it doesn't. Except for the cake, my daughter did have the reception and wedding that she wanted. We did one thing right by buying all of the decorations and serving pieces. (Click the link to find out how that was decided. It opens in a new window.)

Have you ever had a similar wedding or reception experience? How did you handle it? Sound off in the comments section to let us know.

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