SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Elizabeth Smart, the young woman from Utah who was kidnapped at knifepoint at 14 and held captive for nine months by an itinerant street preacher, has married her Scottish fiance at a Mormon temple in Hawaii.
The wedding came several months ahead of scheduled plans for the nuptials after news of her engagement last month drew widespread media attention.
A family spokesman said Smart married Matthew Gilmour, of Aberdeen, Scotland, on Saturday on Oahu's North Shore.
"Elizabeth's desire was for what most women want — to celebrate her nuptials in a private wedding with family and close friends," family spokesman Chris Thomas said in a statement. "She decided, about a week ago, the best way to avoid significant distraction was to change her wedding plans and to get married in an unscheduled ceremony outside of Utah."
The 24-year-old Smart is in her last year at Brigham Young University. She met Gilmour while doing Mormon missionary work in Paris.
The couple wed at the Laie Hawaii Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in front of a small group of family members, Thomas said. The group then celebrated at a private reception and luau.
Smart and Gilmour got engaged last month and initially made plans to wed this summer.
"The bride and groom were beaming as they left the LDS Temple," he added, noting the couple planned to go on an extended honeymoon in an undisclosed location.
"We're just thrilled that she's married," her father, Ed Smart, told The Salt Lake Tribune, calling the ceremony a "kind of a spur of a moment thing."
Onetime itinerant street preacher Brian David Mitchell was convicted in 2010 of Smart's 2002 kidnapping and sexual assault. He is serving a life prison sentence.
Smart's disappearance led to a massive search across Utah. She testified during Mitchell's five-week trial, calling her kidnapping "nine months of hell."
Smart said that within hours of the kidnapping she was forced into a polygamous marriage with Mitchell and raped. She said she endured daily rapes, lived homeless and was forced to use drugs and alcohol.
Since her rescue, Smart has become increasingly involved in advocacy work for crime victims, forming the Elizabeth Smart Foundation, aimed largely at protecting children from abuse through prevention and education.
"Her wedding further demonstrates it is possible to rise above challenging circumstances to lead a happy and productive life," Thomas said. "Once Elizabeth returns from her honeymoon, she looks forward to continuing her child advocacy work."