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Carmen Rasmusen Herbert: Elizabeth Smart says 'Yes to the Dress'

Published: Thursday, Feb. 23 2012 3:13 p.m. MST

Of all the “ridiculous” (according to my father-in-law) reality shows I seem to be in denial of having an addiction to such as "The Bachelor," "American Idol" (hey, I have a good excuse with that one), "Dancing With the Stars" and "Property Brothers" (I’m well-rounded in my junk TV), the one that makes me feel the happiest is TLC’s "Say Yes to the Dress."

Bear with me.

This is a show that promotes and encourages something I strongly believe in: marriage. It highlights blushing brides-to-be as they begin their quest to find the perfect dress.

Yes, it’s a little fluffy. But in a business so focused on exploiting people and tearing them down all in the name of entertainment, this is a show with a goal of making women feel good about themselves on their wedding day. And with a $10,000 Pnina Tornai custom-made gown, who wouldn’t?

(For the critic: I acknowledge the fact there is an occasional bridezilla featured on the show for comedic value. And that a budget of $10,000 for a wedding dress is quite chokingly ridiculous. But that’s pretty much all the controversy you get with this sunshine-and-sugar show and right now. I’m all about the sunshine and sugar.)

There have been several celebrities and people of importance highlighted at the high-profile Kleinfeld location in New York in seasons past. This year, there is a very special young woman who selected a gown at Kleinfeld's: newlywed Elizabeth Smart.

This remarkable kidnap survivor was married in the Laie Hawaii LDS temple a week ago. According to People magazine, the whole event came together in a matter of days. And finding a dress was no easy feat.

“I tried on just about every dress in Utah,” she told People magazine in an exclusive interview. “I was going to New York with a friend for the weekend and we thought, ‘Why don’t we just see if we can get into Kleinfeld’s and look around?’”

"Miraculously," the report reads, "she scored an open appointment slot at the famed Manhattan bridal shop (featured on TLC’s 'Say Yes to the Dress') — and found her dress, too."

I admire Smart for so many reasons: her remarkable recovery from being held hostage for months on end and growing into a beautiful, well-spoken woman; her strength in facing her fear head-on and courageously making the choice to not let her past define her; her optimism and determination to live out life to the fullest; and her commitment to help other victims overcome their past as she as done.

I am happy to support a woman who stands for so much good and hope.

And I'm happy that she was able to "Say Yes to the Dress."

Carmen Rasmusen Herbert is a former "American Idol" contestant who writes about entertainment and family for the Deseret News.

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