April 08, 2014 10:00 AM

Any bride would likely attest to the fact that wedding dress shopping can be stressful, to say the least. And Taylor Armstrong, author, public speaker and former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, is no exception.

Days before her April 4 wedding to John Bluher, Armstrong tried on several options at Chagoury Couture in Los Angeles before selecting a winner.

“I wanted something sophisticated and glamorous that doesn’t make me look like a 25-year-old bride,” she told PEOPLE.

An emotional Armstrong also explained how meaningful it was to have her own mother and 8-year-old daughter Kennedy accompany her on the dress excursion.

“John surprised me with adoption papers,” Armstrong reveals. “For Kennedy to get to have a father, and to see what it’s like for her mom to have a healthy relationship, I think that’s one of the greatest gifts we could give to her.”

RELATED: Taylor Armstrong Marries John Bluher

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