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On the eve of their Feb. 18 Hawaiian nuptials, Elizabeth Smart and fiancé Matthew Gilmour enjoy a horseback ride – a first for the Scottish groom! – along the Hawaiian shore. "We're just thrilled," her father, Ed Smart, told PEOPLE, of the couple's engagement. "We're looking forward to her moving on to this next stage and leading a very happy life."
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MEET THE PARENTS
Proud parents Ed and Lois Smart savor a private moment with their daughter during the ceremony, which took place on Oahu's North Shore. "It's a love story that has come true," her mom said of the couples' courtship.
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A staple by her side during the preparations and festivities, Smart's younger sister Mary Katherine, 19, told guests, "Elizabeth is my best friend and has always been there for me."
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"I've known for a long time I was in love with her," said Scotland native Gilmour, who met the love of his life during a Latter-day Saints mission trip in Paris. Here, the couple step out as husband and wife outside Oahu's Laie Hawaii Mormon Temple, where they were married.
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TRUE LOVE'S KISS
The newlyweds hit the beach for a quick kiss before continuing the celebration, which included a reception lunch and an evening luau (complete with hula dancers and tiki torches) at the nearby Polynesian Cultural Center. "Oahu is a very special place for me," the bride told PEOPLE. "Very different than what I was used to." Smart visited the island in 2003 after being reunited with her family.
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After exchanging vows in front of immediate family and a few friends, the pair joined the rest of their wedding guests for a luncheon at the Turtle Bay Resort. "I've had the pleasure of watching this relationship blossom," Smart's best friend Katy Burgess said.
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For the daytime feast, guests dined on an assortment of local offerings, including Maui onion and pickled ogo salad, grilled island fish, Huli Huli chicken and roasted Molokai sweet potatoes.
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Though she had originally scheduled a summer ceremony, plans quickly changed and Smart found herself planning her dream wedding within just a few weeks. Her hard work paid off. "I couldn't be happier," Smart gushed at the intimate gathering. "It has been the greatest day I could ever have imagined."
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"I've never done this before," the new groom bashfully admitted while cutting into the couple's three-tier wedding cake – chocolate and vanilla chiffon with strawberry and chocolate filling. Turned out to be a piece of cake for the couple, whose soundtrack for the evening included Keith Urban's "Making Memories of Us" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
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After just a 12-month courtship, both Smart and Gilmour knew their love was destiny. "It's like he's always been there," Smart told PEOPLE of her new husband. "I knew it was meant to be." And for Gilmour, "I'd known for a long time that I was in love with her."
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Sealed with a kiss, the couple embrace their happiness and life ahead together. "I have found my eternal companion," says Gilmour (outside the temple with his new wife). "I am so happy."