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How Elizabeth Smart Found the Perfect Wedding Gown

02/22/2012 at 01:30 PM ET

Elizabeth Smart Wedding Dress
Neil Rasmus/BFAnyc/Sipa Press

With just one month to plan her secret Hawaiian wedding, Elizabeth Smart had mere days to finalize details like flowers, a guest list … and her dress.

“I tried on just about every dress in Utah,” Smart tells PEOPLE. Frustrated, she hoped a quick cross-country trip would prove fruitful. “I was going to New York with my friend for the weekend and we thought, ‘Why don’t we just see if we can get into Kleinfeld’s and look around?’”

Miraculously, she scored an open appointment slot at the famed Manhattan bridal shop (featured on TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress) — and found her dress, too. The Alita Graham gown — with lace sleeves, a sweetheart neckline and satin-covered buttons down the back — was an ideal fit for her nuptials.

“It was traditional, but still was different,” she explains. “I felt like it was just perfect.”

And while she did plan her dream wedding in record time, she also had to gloss over a few traditions. When asked if she chose “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue” for her big day, the newlywed laughs. “Are you kidding?” she says. “There’s been no time!”

For more details and exclusive photos of Smart’s wedding — and to see what the groom wore, too! — pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

–Reporting by Alicia Dennis and Cathy Free

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Kenzie on

If there is one person on this earth who deserves a fairytale wedding and happy ever after, its this amazing young woman! Congrats to her and her new husband.

Jon on

I loved her Wedding Dress, very nice! I’m glad she found something very pretty & modest!

Martha on

Mae-OBVIOUSLY the article is not about her abduction. She is an amazing young lady who overcame a horrendous ordeal and is now happily married. I am sure that is the whole point of the article. People Mag is into fashion, so of course they are going to talk about the ‘details’ of the dress, flowers, wedding planning etc. If she made some money on it, who cares! She deserves it. I am so happy for her and whish her and her husband all the happiness in her world.

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Olga on

I know this girl has been through a lot…but this is “milking” it. What is this, build up to a reality show for her? People doing an article on how she found the perfect plane ride back to Utah? There are lot of kids out there who have been upducted and never found. How about some press time for them? This publication stinks.

kc on

Cute dress, not something I would wear for a wedding in Hawaii though. Too humid for all that lace.

Maria on

Slow week for news?

Pat on

So nice and refreshing to see a wedding gown with actual sleeves on it! I am so tired of the strapless cookie cutter gowns. Enough already! Every bride is afraid to step out of the box and try something different! Those strapless gowns are so predictable now and boring.

Mae on

Martha; The only problem I have with your defense is that you’re basically saying she deserves a bunch of things because of what had happened to her. It’s ridiculous to say that she should be able to make a bunch of money off of her abduction and she can’t expect to do that for the rest of her life. You would think that she’d want to live a more private life. Like someone else said above, she is kind of “milking it” at this point.

Mehmet on

@Olga. Olga, I liked what you said about the kids that are still missing out there and not getting press to keep the cases alive. I am so glad this girl was found, but at this point all this family is doing is seeing $$$$$ signs.

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