04/07/2014 at 03:00 PM EDT
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."