The ceremony and reception are at the same location. Ceremony starts at 5:00. I would like to give myself a little time for placing the top tier and making any necessary repairs. I'd also like to get there before a bunch of people start showing up. Would 3:00 be too early?
I'd deliver it at 4:00 if it's not going to take you too long to assemble it. If the ceremony is at 5:00, the cake probably won't be cut until maybe 6:30 or 7:00 at the earliest if they serve dinner. You don't want to set it up too early and risk having it damaged if they're trying to decorate around it or move it. And you don't want it to sit out forever before it's cut.
I usually set up an hour before the reception is to start, but when it's in the same room you have to do it earlier so you're not in the way or distracting people during the ceremony.
Some really busy venues will have several events booked one after another on the same day. If that's the kind of place that you're delivering to, you should call and ask how many hours in advance you can deliver...you don't want to be standing in the hallway with the cake in boxes waiting for some other couple to finish up their wedding. Also, you want to make sure the tablecloth that will be under the cake is there before you set up...don't want anyone picking it up to stick a tablecloth underneath.
It's not really as intimidating to set up with people watching as you might think You kind of get in the zone and don't really notice them much.
Yes, definitely call and find out when the room will be available and set up a time to drop the cake off. It it's not perishable, I think 3:00 would be fine. But you also want to make sure that someone from the bride or groom's family will be there to acknowledge that the cake got there without any problems. Because you don't want them to come back and say the cake is leaning because someone at the party bumped it.
I always deliver one hour prior to the first guest arrival time, so in this case, I'd deliver at 4:00.
By one hour prior, the room should be decorated and done.
I've set up cakes that sat for 5 hours and they held just fine, so I never really worry about setting it up too early. It sits on my counter or their table either way ... it makes no difference to the cake.
I agree, Debi. I'm generally more concerned that the cake has enough time to warm up, and not that it'll spoil, although in Idaho's very arid summer climate a cake that's left outside can get kind of crusted over in 4 hours time, and a cupcake can be a hockey puck. Most of my cakes go to indoor venues in air conditioned climates, so spoilage really isn't a factor.
Last summer I delivered a large cake to an outdoor event that sat out in 90+ degree temps. and about 15% humidity with a slight breeze and intermittent shade and sun (it was under a tree with the sun shining through) for about 2 1/2 hours before I cut it. I was sure it'd be sludge when I cut it, but to my surprise, it was still cool on the inside. Cake is sturdier than we realize.