We report on the conformation and self-assembly properties of meso-tetramesitylporphyrin on Cu(100). The results show that the presence of the mesityl groups limits the interaction between the porphyrin ring and the copper surface, contributing to the high porphyrin mobility at room temperature. At low temperatures it is the substrate which determines the molecule orientation. The intermolecular interaction is also very weak, and only for high coverages do the porphyrins self-assemble to form large islands with two different mirror symmetric unit cells. The porphyrins can be Fe metalated by sublimation of Fe at room temperature on a porphyrin overlayer deposited on the copper surface.