Katie Smith of Lexington scanned cakes at Lexington Center's first bridal show of the year Sunday and took pictures so her fiancé's cousin could make something similar for less money.
Smith, who will receive a bachelor's degree from Transylvania University this year, said she got engaged to Matt Kerns of Lexington on Christmas Day. Her wedding is tentatively set for April 2012, but it's never too early to start getting ideas for the big day.
Organizers of the show, sponsored by Kentucky Bride magazine, said many women were planning earlier to make the event easier on their budgets.
Julie Wilson, editor of Kentucky Bride, said a show is held in January because "December is the biggest month for engagements." Sunday afternoon, a few hundred brides browsed among 75 vendors, including businesses specializing in dresses, invitations, floral arrangements and food.
Admission to the show was $12. Another bridal show is held in July for those still looking for ideas, Wilson said.
She said the people who attended Sunday's show were expected to browse, talk with vendors and make appointments. Despite the lagging economy, she said, people are still having weddings.
Smith said she was on a tight budget because her sister also planned to get married next year.
"It's going to be next to impossible to keep the budget," she said. "It's a little frustrating."
Smith wasn't the only bride borrowing ideas from the show.
Tiffany Mullins of Winchester searched for ideas for "country rustic" centerpieces that she might be able to make herself. Mullins said she also planned to make the food — fried chicken, mashed potatoes and biscuits — for her reception.
And Mullins said she wanted to make her own invitations.
Still, Mullins, who got engaged the day after Thanksgiving, tried on a veiled headpiece as she thought about her wedding, tentatively set for June.
"I'm just looking for everything," she said. "I'm really unprepared."