'Beautiful, but bittersweet’: Indiana woman gets married at father’s hospital bedside

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — It was an act of true love and meant more than any large wedding.

An Indiana woman moved up her wedding by 10 months, taking her vows in the intensive care unit of an Evansville hospital so her dying father could witness the ceremony.

“It was the most beautiful, bittersweet moment of my life,” Shelby Schweikhart-Conville wrote on Facebook.

She got married Dec. 29 at St. Vincent’s Hospital as her father, Steven Schweikart, watched from his hospital bed, WTHR reported. The impromptu wedding capped a whirlwind of emotions for the bride.

Her father was suffering from cancer that had taken over his lungs, the television station reported. Schweikart was no longer responding to chemotherapy.

“Knowing we exhausted every hope, we planned a wedding in the ICU in less than 30 minutes,” Schweikhart-Conville wrote on Facebook.

Shelby Schweikhart-Conville had planned to marry Jared Conville on Oct. 3, 2020, WXIN reported. Her wedding dress would be ready in February, and Schweikhart-Conville had her bridesmaids lined up.

Then, her father’s cancer returned, and it changed Schweikhart-Conville’s plans.

“It came back with a vengeance,” she wrote on Facebook.

As Schweikhart-Conville prayed by her father’s bedside Dec. 29, her friend, Nalen Lefler, suggested a ceremony in the hospital, WTTV reported. She readily agreed, and so did her fiance.

“I was going to get married in my leggings and sweatshirt I had on. Jared was going to get married in what he had on. I called the pastor (Jeff Long) and asked if he could get over there as fast as he could and he said ‘Yes,’” Schweikhart-Conville told WTHR. “Then a couple friends went to the bridal store because my wedding dress wasn’t going to be here until February. They picked out a dress for me and a veil. I just threw it on and off we went to his ICU room.”

Conville was given an Andrew Luck jersey to wear since he had joked with his fiancee about wanting an Indianapolis Colts-themed wedding, the television station reported.

Recorded wedding music played as the bride entered her father’s room. Conville’s mother took off her wedding ring and handed it to the bride. One of Schweikhart-Conville’s friends offered his wedding ring to Conville, WTHR reported.

“My dad got to see his baby girl get married, and it meant the world to me that he was able to see it,” Schweikhart-Conville wrote on Facebook. “Shortly after the wedding, my dad wanted to stop the life support.”

“Later on that evening I said, ‘Dad are you glad we did that?’ He shook his head yes and wrote on the whiteboard he was very happy he was there to see that,” Schweikhart-Conville told WTHR.

Schweikhart is now in hospice care, WXIN reported.