WEB EXCLUSIVE: Wedding caps off spectacular proposal, tragic dea - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Wedding caps off spectacular proposal, tragic death

"Gettin' hitched" was the theme for Josh and Brooke's wedding. "Gettin' hitched" was the theme for Josh and Brooke's wedding.
Despite a fight with cancer, Pastor Smith marries Josh and Brooke. Despite a fight with cancer, Pastor Smith marries Josh and Brooke.
William Welsh William Welsh
A memorial to William Welsh stands near the bride and groom. A memorial to William Welsh stands near the bride and groom.
Josh and Brooke after his special proposal. Josh and Brooke after his special proposal.

LEE COUNTY, SC (WIS) - For Josh and Brooke Bradshaw, the buildup to their wedding day may have been much shorter than usual, but it was anything but typical, including an airborne proposal, a special gesture to a cancer-stricken pastor and the death of a groomsman just days before the ceremony.

Josh Bradshaw proposed to Brooke Chewning on May 12 by cutting the words "Will You Marry Me?" into a field and then taking his future fiancé up in a plane to see his creation.

She said "yes," but that was only the start to a whirlwind month ahead for the childhood friends.

Shortly after the proposal, the couple decided to fast-track their wedding so that Brooke's pastor, who has cancer, would feel up to officiating.

A month after the airborne proposal, the day arrived. It was anything but traditional, but most certainly a home grown affair.

Following a miniature tractor down the aisle, the bride made her way through a sea of friends and family sitting on bales of hay toward a barn decorated for the occasion.

For Brooke, it was a journey far longer and much tougher than the short walk she took on Saturday.

The man at the end of the aisle was the bride's childhood pastor, Rev. Sim Smith. "I have cancer and it's bad but we're working on it and the Lord is blessing," said Smith.

Knowing he's sick, the couple pushed the wedding date up to mid-June.

"Him standing up there was a miracle because we didn't think he had long at all and he's healthy," said Brooke. "Hopefully shaking a leg at the reception."

It seemed on this day that Reverend Smith was his old self wearing a down home outfit for the special day. "I've never conducted anything dressed like this," said a chuckling Smith.

Even though Reverend Smith was there, someone who was supposed to be standing close by the couple was not.

"You go from burying your best friend on Wednesday to marrying 'em on Saturday," said Josh.

Before the couple said their "I do's," they had to say goodbye to a friend who was supposed to be a big part of their special day.

"Monday, his ex-roommate and our best friend, William Welsh, was electrocuted on the farm,"
 said Brooke.

By the time they realized the groomsman wouldn't be there, the programs were printed. So they made certain he was still there in spirit.

In his honor, the couple placed a wooden cross bearing his nickname "pork chop" in the place where he would've stood during the ceremony.

"It was a tragic loss for everybody," said Josh. "Not just us, but Bishopville. He was a friend, everywhere he's ever been, he made nothing but friends."

And not just friends, the kind of friends who ask you to be in their wedding. "He was here," said Josh. "He held the rain off for us," continued Brooke.

The couple does plan on starting a family, but Brooke says it will be a while.


 

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