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

FILED UNDER: Exclusive , Wedding Dresses

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sdl on

I wish this sweet young woman all the luck in the world. I hope she finds as much peace, joy, hope and security as I have found in mine these past 31 years.

asmith on

Good for her for doing it in secret. Now let’s leave her alone…

moonstar on

That is NOT a sweetheart neckline…

moonstar on

and asmith… she obviously does not want to be left alone… she posed for the cover of People magazine for christ’s sake!

Meetra on

Good for her. She looks beautiful, and I hope their life together is wonderful. She deserves it : )

Lola on

Leave her alone? She posed for the cover and got paid to do the article. If she wanted privacy, should wouldn’t participate.

Rebecca on

Elizabeth – you look BEAUTIFUL! Just as a bride should. I wish you and your new husband all the happiness in the world as you begin your married life together. May you have all that you hoped and prayed for during those tortuous days and months you were held captive by those monsters. You are now living your dream!!!

Mae on

Why is she getting so much press for her wedding? Obviously it’s not about her abduction anymore.

jones on

I’m glad she has happiness after what she has been through. That being said, I laughed when I read about the Kleinfeld’s appointment miraculously opening up for her. She got an appointment at Kleinfeld’s based upon who she is (someone in the public eye).

Theresa on

Not only is she on the cover of People, it is exclusive, and therefore PAID. The dad has always been genius on the profit side of her trauma.

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.

How Elizabeth Smart Found the Perfect Wedding Gown | Gossip File This Moment on

[...] Elizabeth Smart Found the Perfect Wedding Gown People Wed, February 22, 2012 7:30 PM UTC People Rate  Loading … Share (function() { var po = document.createElement('script'); [...]

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.

Tulan on

She’s getting the press because she is the PEOPLE. She’s now part of the American history. She was kidnapped, survived through such ordeal at a young age, and managed to get free after many years of being captured. After a few years of getting her life back on track (with many more years of therapy I have no doubt,) I think it is quite appropriate to give her a cover. It’s the PEOPLE’s magazine.

kim on

I LOVE her dress!!!!!! She looks beautiful in it!!!! I love that its not too showy and looks very elegant!!!!

Denise on

Congratulations. Best Wishes to them both!!!! All the happiness in the world!!!!

christina on

She looks radiant and beautiful! Love the dress – modest and traditional, yet unique with the sweetheart neckline underneath the lace. Congratulations!

Rich on

If her Dad can get People to pay for the wedding more power to him. One of my daughters cancelled after it was too late to get deposits back. I lost over, well never mind, let’s just say a lot. Maybe People will do a story on her and she can pay me back.

Kellie on

Obviously her wedding was very private, nobody knew about it until after she was married. If she had gotten married in Utah the press would have been EVERYWHERE. She let People get the exclusive because she knew she could choose what they put in the magazine and she could still keep some things private. She is not just an abduction survivor she is an inspiration for many people. By allowing an inside look in on her wedding she is showing the world how it is possible to get over something very horrible in life like being kidnapped from your bed at knifepoint at the age of 14. I don’t think her entire motive was for attention and money. I think she did it so the media would get what they wanted and leave her alone. And again, I think she did it to spread a message that good things can still happen after something very horrible has happened.

Melinda on

I still remember her being found. I was in my early 20′s and at work at the time. One of the best feelings I’ve ever had. That she survived is truly a miracle. I wish her all the love and happiness in the world, she deserves it. Much love to her and her family. Congratulations!

Beth on

So she miraculously score an open appointment? Miracle, my ass. People (magazine and everyone) fall all over themselves at the mention of her name. The shop knew damn well who she was and mark my word, they’ll pimp it as much as possible. Any Jane Doe would have been turned away at the door.

Now we’re going to be on baby bump watch. Then we’ll be on grandkid watch.

Elizabeth – continue living in private please. Don’t trade one set of vultures for another.

Kathleen Smith on

I can’t figure out if she wants to be left alone or if she wants to be a celebrity – I don’t think she knows what she wants either. This “quickie” wedding makes me think that there is a baby on the way though; why rush it otherwise? I suspect there will be a “honeymoon” baby in eight months (subtracting one month for the missed period).

Sabrina on

I wonder if the kick-backs and pay out for this article were as modest as this dress?

Sarafina on

I love her dress and veil just as much as I liked the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress–absolute perfection! Congrats and Best Wishes to the bride and groom!!

Janey on

She is such a beautiful example of strength and resiliency. She took control of her life and the media exposure. They were going to be involved one way or the other. I love hearing a happy news story for once. Best of wishes for an eternity of happiness for Elizabeth and her husband! Lets just be happy for her!

Wimpy on

Beautiful gril and a beautiful wedding. I love the kilt he had on. You go girl!

Courtney on

Millions of women have searched for the perfect wedding dress and eventually found something…how is this news?
PEOPLE has become such a joke. If it’s not posts like this, it’s the Kardashians, the Duggars, Jennifer Aniston, “baby bumps”. Give it up already.

Karen on

Obviously a lot of you people out there don’t enjoy seeing a beautiful young woman happy in her perfect wedding dress on the cover of People magazine. Who cares if she got paid for the photos or not. Celebrities get paid all the time for photos of their babies or we have to see the Kardashians on the cover for weeks on end. Let her be haappy and who cares how she got her dress appointment. This young woman deserves all the happiness life puts her way as does Jaycee Duggard, who by the way was also on the cover of People. I didn’t notice anyone fussing about her getting paid. Maybe Elizabeth figured if she gave People exclusive rights she could at least control what was put out there. Just be happy for her and yes I wish every abducted child could come home too.

Samantha on

The jealousy running rampant through these posts is amazing. To all you people faulting Elizabeth Smart for giving People an exclusive of her beautiful wedding, go look in your mirrors and thank whatever God you believe in that you haven’t had to endure the ordeal Elizabeth went through. She deserves happiness. What’s wrong with wishing it for her?

Thomasin on

Elizabeth

I believe all of us wish you well and a happy life after your ordeal. But I don’t think your “finding the perfect wedding dress” needed to make front page headlines.

guest on

The dress is not my cup of tea for a beach wedding, but the bouquet is gorgeous. I hope she and her husband have many years of happiness.

Lauren on

I love her. I love the story. I love People Magazine. But for some reason, to me, it looks like a cover of Seventeen Magazine or Teen People. Maybe it is the bright pink font. I don’t know. It looks… young.

JD on

Sounds like a shotgun wedding to me.

lottogirl846 on

TULAN: She was not kidnapped for YEARS. She was missing for 9 MONTHS. She looks very beautiful in that dress and I wish you nothing but a happy life.

KathyC on

She looks so beautiful and happy. Best of luck Elizabeth. May you and your husband have a lifetime of happiness.

amy on

Beautiful dress,beautiful bride.

Susan on

@ jones…that’s the first thing I thought of…nobody just gets an “open appt” @ Kleinfeld’s, she said who she was & it was a done deal. No ill-will towards her & everything she has been through, but I concur she is not asking for a private life when she is on the cover or People or any other magazine.

Katiedid on

Oh my goodness, that is truely a beautiful wedding gown. She deserves all the happiness in the world.

Colleen on

I am so very happy for her-she deserves it! I just love to hear hopeful, happy endings like this. She is Americas Sweetheart!

Kristine on

@ MOONSTAR…calm down already, lol. Elizabeth got exactly what she wanted…a private wedding. She never said anything about afterwards. And she didn’t pose for people. They used one of her wedding photos which they would have gotten hold of anyway. At least this way it’s on her terms.

Gina on

You look beautiful Elizabeth–thank you for not wearing a strapless gown! Way too many of them nowadays…

Janey on

All the best to them!

aimlessanddrifting on

congrats to her. she looks beautiful and happy.
i honestly couldn’t care less about the fact she’s always on people. maybe it’s her way of coping with what happened to her and proving that she’s doing well and a-okay. it could be her way of gaining control in her life that she once lost.

Donna on

It is important to include stories like Elizabeth Smart’s wedding day in a forum like this, because it can give hope to a person who has lived through a tramatic experience, and show them that it is possible to survive and be happy again. It is a very important message that Ms. Smart is sharing with the world.

Journey on

I am so happy for Elizabeth and Matthew. They were able to pull off their dream wedding on their terms. They certainly deserve it. Elizabeth has always handled herself with grace and class. She went through a horrible nine months and it is so wonderful to see how she has risen above the adversity. May she and Matthew have a long, loving and beautiful marriage. I see nothing wrong with them having People cover their wedding. God bless them.

Thanks, People « Welcome to Ladyville on

[...] Just one month to plan her dream wedding? AND she “miraculously” scored an appointment at Kleinfeld’s? Listen, People, I think you need to figure out the definition of the word “miraculous” because this is not the part of Elizabeth Smart’s story it applies to. [...]

Mimi on

That is NOT a sweetheart neckline…

- moonstar on February 22nd, 2012

The part underneath the lace covering is. I like what we have seen of her dress so far.

CIBBEE on

I heard her say she came out of her ordeal UNSCARRED — Excuse Me, how does being alledgely repeatedly raped on a daily basis… NOT leave you Scarred?????…. I am perplexed by that statement…

Today on

ELIZABETH SMART IS NOW CELEBRITY…HOLY MACARONI

Michele on

Wow, that’s a really pretty dress. I hope their life together is long and happy.

sarah on

I’m glad she’s happy but for somebody that hurried her wedding to escape the media, she has been on a media blitz. I heard about her wedding over the weekend–thought “how sweet”–but now it is everywhere. Doesn’t look like she wants too much privacy.

Kristine on

After her news of engagement her family was inundated for details. Better tell the tale in one publication and through a simple press release than be stalked by strangers trying to get pictures for cash.

She may have got a dress and still altered it slightly to meet garment guildelines. She needs all that lace for modesty. I don’t understand why in Utah of all places she couldn’t find a temple ready dress? But she’s the bride and if it can be paid for she should have whatever dress from where she finds it.

It’s not uncommon to have multiple open houses after a LDS wedding when family lives in multiple locations.

tll on

Love her grin. So glad she’s happy! Congrats!!

How Elizabeth Smart Found the Perfect Wedding Gown – People Magazine | Down Town Bride on

[...] How Elizabeth Smart Found the Perfect Wedding GownPeople MagazineWith 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 …See Elizabeth Smart's Wedding Dress!TooFab.comElizabeth Smart wedding photos to be published by 'People'KSL-TVElizabeth Smart's Dream Wedding in OahuExtra TVSalt Lake Tribune -Huffington Postall 39 news articles » Read more from Wedding Dress [...]

Smart wedding pics will be in People — and the Enquirer – Salt Lake Tribune | Down Town Bride on

[...] the latter comes as a rather unpleasant surprise. According to Smart family spokesman …How Elizabeth Smart Found the Perfect Wedding GownPeople MagazineElizabeth Smart wedding photos to be published by 'People'KSL-TVElizabeth [...]

really on

What a sweet dress for a lovely young woman. Congratulations to her and her new husband. It’s amazing to see that she still has hope for the futur after her experience.

Whatever on

Moonstar- it is a sweetheart neckline under the lace overlay. How refreshing- a dress that doesn’t show a ton of skin.

Cele on

I dont understand why this girl got a People cover. PLus she does NOT look good. Ugh…next!

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kylie on

“Miraculously she scored an open appointment spot at kleinfelds”… Lol! You know they heard ‘Elizabeth Smart’ and boosted somebody out!! Wish her the best.

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Lily on

I wish her the best… but obviously she is TOTALLY taking advantage of this, magazine covers, working for ABC… I mean if she really wishes to stay out of this she should be off TV and magazines like NOW!

See Elizabeth Smart’s Sapphire Engagement Ring | xalyzax on

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meghsn on

Lily, Magazines? Try one magazine! She gave People the exclusive so she wouldn’t have to deal with other media. It’s not her fault People is dragging out each detail on it’s website. The media was already being invasive, with just the engagement announcement, she must have realized that would just be the start of it. I applaud her for doing things on her terms and shame on anyone criticizing her and her family. She looks absolutely radiant!

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Jill on

By doing the story for People, she gets the story out her way and does not leave herself open to rumors and scandal. Plus, People pays for a nice honey moon. Smart by any other name would still be smart!

lke on

She is beautiful and wish the couple the best. Her choice to be on People was a wonderful choice for her and the public. There are many people like me who never knew her but suffered thru her abduction. It is wonderful to know how that she is strong enough to overcome the horrors that she experienced and more than appropriate to satisfy the minds of those of us who still have her in our hearts.

Elizabeth Smart’s Dream Husband – msnbc.com | Down Town Bride on

[...] TribuneElizabeth Smart wedding: Kidnap victim shows off her new husband Matthew GilmourDaily MailPeople Magazine -ABC News (blog) -KSL-TVall 62 news articles » Read more from [...]

Neal Penzo on

If she hadn’t posed for the pics, People (and other mags) would have used photos from papparazzi who were following her around, and would have printed them anyway. I think other mags probably did use some papparazzi pics anyway.

And the mags would have printed rumors and hearsay from neighbors, relatives, and desk clerks at hotels.

If she and her family had not cooperated with People magazine, possibly unflattering photos and likely-incorrect rumors would have been printed. This way, at least they have some modicum of control or say-so in what is printed, and are about to keep rumors and false assumptions at a minimum.

And if People (and others) are going to print stuff anyway, no matter what, the family might as well get paid for it.

And while we mourn for the thousands of missing children who never come home, that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate one of the few who do.

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