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Elizabeth Smart engaged, will wed in July

Published January 20, 2012 10:21 pm

Nuptials • BYU senior is keeping details about fiance and their wedding plans private.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Break out the Martinelli's.

Elizabeth Smart, whose kidnapping and survival story has captivated the state and nation, is engaged to be married.

And the nuptials of Utah's semi-celebrity are likely to be the sparkling cider toast — and talk — of the town.

The 24-year-old Smart, a senior at BYU, plans to marry in the summer after becoming engaged last weekend, Chris Thomas of Intrepid Communications confirmed Friday.

Thomas declined to identify Smart's fiance or provide details about how the two met, but wedding registries online at Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn list a July 1 wedding date for an Elizabeth Smart and Matthew Gilmour in Utah.

Gilmour is from Scotland. The two apparently met while Smart was serving an LDS mission in France last year.

Those clamoring for information on whether the blushing bride-to-be will wear her hair up or down, choose lilies or roses for her reception, and if she will say yes to a dress designed by Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier or local designer Maggie Sottero may be disappointed.

Smart plans to keep her wedding plans close to the vest, Thomas said.

"While she plans to be very publicly involved with her public advocacy work, she has decided she wants to keep the details of her personal life private," Thomas said.

"She is going to be involved in child advocacy work for a long, long time and really decided that she wants to keep her husband and [future] children out of the public spotlight."

With Smart's devotion to the Mormon faith, it's a good guess that she and her fiance will likely be married in an LDS temple.

That means a modest wedding gown that won't be strapless or sleeveless.

With the family's penchant for privacy, the wedding celebration probably won't be a big splash reminiscent of William and Kate's royal affair. But it's not likely the reception following the temple ceremony will take place in a ward gym, with crêpe paper flowing from the basketball hoops, either.

Smart has become increasingly visible as an advocate for crime victims following her nine-month kidnapping ordeal at the hands of Brian David Mitchell in 2002 and 2003.

In November, Smart held a press conference at the state Capitol in the wake of the Penn State sexual abuse scandal, suggesting the Penn State victims could have benefited from a program Smart would like to see implemented in elementary schools called radKIDS [Resist Aggression Defensively]. The program teaches children about calling 911 and making defensive moves against attackers.

Smart has also implored President Barack Obama to appropriate more resources into investigating sexual abuse crimes against children.

She sent a letter to Obama on Nov. 9 asking the president to provide more funding to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which investigates sexual exploitation of children on the Web. She also asked the president to declare a "national emergency" and allot resources for a "massive search and rescue operation" to help children trapped in abusive situations.

Smart has been increasingly visible in public discussions on how to prevent child abuse and help victims. She recently spoke at the 24th Conference on Child Abuse and Family Violence at the Davis Conference Center in Layton and said she traveled to New York and Washington, D.C., earlier this month to work on child abuse prevention initiatives.

At Mitchell's trial in 2010, Smart testified that her kidnapper raped her almost daily during nine months of captivity, which included a journey to California and back to Utah. Smart was rescued — and Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Eileen Barzee, were arrested — after the three were spotted on a Sandy street in March 2003.

Mitchell, 57, is serving a life sentence in prison. Barzee is serving time in a Texas prison for her role in the crime.

Smart is working with her Elizabeth Smart Foundation, aimed at protecting children from abuse with a focus on prevention, eduction and promoting radKIDS.

In July, Smart signed on as a "contributor" to ABC News to help viewers "better understand missing-persons stories from the perspective of someone who really knows what the family experiences when a loved one goes missing," according to a network spokeswoman.

Smart told ABC News on Friday that she is excited about her engagement, according to the news organization's website.

"We are looking forward to a bright future together," Smart told ABC.

Smart's father, Ed Smart, said Friday his future son-in-law is a "fine young man." Ed Smart said he's pleased for his daughter and hopes she has a happy life.

Thomas noted that Smart's life is on the upswing.

"This is an exciting next chapter of her life," he said of her engagement. "It's a banner year for her in many ways."

mrogers@sltrib.com twitter: @mrogers_trib