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Wedding Recap and Withdrawal

Ummmm WHAT?!

So we decided to save some money by making our own wedding cake-- cupcakes, to be exact. We budgeted about $50-$75 for this. My best friend recommend that her 15 year old cousin help out, as she has dreams of attending culinary school one day. I said, sure, what the hell! The kid did amazing. I'm in marketing, so I thought this would be a great opportunity for her. I let her make any kind of cupcake she wanted and told her to take pictures and experiment as much as she wanted to build a portfolio. She made 250 adorable cupcakes in like 8 different flavors (nothing I would have picked myself, but since she was helping me, I wanted to help her). I even let her lay out business cards on the cupcake table and a few cocktail tables at the actual wedding. A few days after the wedding, my DH and I wrote her a nice thank-you and a check for $250 for her effort and for doing a great job.

Fast forward to yesterday-- the kid e-mailed me an "invoice" for SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS from her mom's e-mail account! She charged me $425 in ingredients, $200 for 45 hours of labor, and then gave us $25 discount for being friends of the family. WHAT?

I am shocked-- I don't know how to respond! If I had a budget of $600 for wedding cake, I would have hired a professional to create my dream wedding cake! Or I at least would have wanted a little say in the end product... and I never would have someone's business cards displayed at my WEDDING if they were also charging me $600! and 45 hours of labor? I offered to have myself and my 6 bridesmaids come over to help her bake and decorate, but she emphatically declined and said she enjoyed working alone and didn't want me looking over her shoulder. I thought we were talking about an under-$100 project, or else I would have asked for quotes and a contract beforehand. But I didn't because she's my best friend's kid cousin! I'm shocked. I don't know how to respond because I don't want to cause problems between myself and my best friend's family (whom I invited and paid for to be there because of the cupcake project even though I am not close to them) but we can't afford $600 cupcakes, and if we COULD, what I got is nowhere near what I would have wanted for that pricetag.

This is also awkward because even if I write her back explaining all of this, I don't want to discount the great job she did. But she's 15 with no experience and no formal training- I thought $250 was a nice offering, plus all of the exposure and experience she can now put on her resume. I'm also not sure if her parents are aware of the invoice or not. And I don't think she has yet received the check I mailed.

My best friend has of course offered to talk to her, but I don't want to be childish and send a messenger, so I feel like I should be the one to explain the situation.


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