Almost 10 years ago Elizabeth Smart was “married” against her will to her kidnapper in a bizarre ceremony in the middle of a barren Utah forest. The supposed wedding was in the fall of 2002, months before she was miraculously rescued in the Salt Lake City area. At the time, it seemed unlikely the teenager could ever find a “happily ever after.”
But Smart has done just that. Her fairy-tale ending came last Saturday in Oahu, Hawaii, when she married Scotsman Matthew Gilmour in an intimate wedding attended by just 12 family members. It capped a year of triumphs for the girl who had become world-famous for her nine-month ordeal at the hands of a maniac who abducted her when she was just 14.
Smart met her dream man more than a year ago while both were completing their Mormon missions in Paris. The 22-year-old Gilmour proposed to his older girlfriend (Smart will turn 25 in November), and she promptly said yes. “As soon as we were together, I felt he was my best friend,” Smart says in the new issue of People, for which she appears on the cover in her wedding dress. “I couldn’t imagine life without him.”
But the wedding she and Gilmour imagined in Salt Lake City was scrapped a few days after she revealed her engagement on Good Morning America, where she has been a special news correspondent since July. The Internet lit up with the story of their engagement, forcing the couple to make swift—and secret—plans to tie the knot in Oahu.
But it wasn’t all kept quiet. Smart’s wedding-day details are on full display in the story in People: she “snacked on” dried mangoes while she got ready, and Gilmour wore a traditional Scottish kilt that belonged to his father, Stewart Gilmour, who died of cancer in 2008. On the cover, Smart, a Brigham Young University senior, is clad in a lacey wedding dress from Kleinfeld Bridal, the New York City hot spot where the TLC reality show Say Yes to the Dress is set.
Who is the bonnie Scottish lad Smart has linked lives with? Gilmour is said to be set to take up his studies at BYU in Provo, following in the footsteps of his bride. But other than some day-of-wedding details, little is known about the groom or and how he swept Smart off her feet as they performed their missionary duties in the City of Lights (a.k.a. the City of Love). Pictures around the Web show the couple hand in hand in London, Salt Lake, and now Hawaii. The two are said to have fallen in love when she visited him at his home in Aberdeen, Scotland.
“The thing that attracted me the most—at the beginning and now—is how confident she is, especially considering everything she has been through,” Gilmour told People.
And Smart indeed has been through a great deal. Over the past two years, she has been forced to relive the nine months she spent as a prisoner of Brian David Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee. In May 2011, Smart was present for Mitchell’s life sentencing after she had faced him in court in fall 2010, telling him, “I want you to know that I have a wonderful life now.”
As her romance with Gilmour blossomed, Smart came to New York to accept a Diane von Furstenberg Award in March 2011, telling attendees at the Women in the World summit that facing Mitchell in court “was something that needed to be done. It’s been eight years and it was just something that had to be done so I made the decision and I did it.”
“As soon as we were together, I felt he was my best friend. I couldn’t imagine life without him.”
In an interview with Newsweek last summer, Smart said she had spent time learning about herself in Paris, and celebrating her freedom. “[It’s] really important to me, knowing that everything that I do in my life is a choice,” she said. The article also detailed Smart’s new venture, the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, “which is working to develop a program that will teach young kids how to defend themselves against would-be abusers and kidnappers.”
For now, Smart has been relaxing in Hawaii with her new hubby, strolling on the beach and shopping for groceries, displaying the sapphire ring that he told People he picked because he knew Elizabeth “wouldn’t want a lot of bling.”
The marriage took place at the Laie Hawaii Mormon Temple, which has ocean views and is a quaint one-hour drive from Honolulu.
Did it live up to Smart’s dreams of the real thing? A family friend confirmed to ABC News that yes, it sure did. It “far exceeded her wildest expectations [and was] one of the greatest days of her life.”