COGGON – Passing thousands of rows of cornfields on Highway 13, it can be hard to pick the “the only and only,” but for 25-year-old Jed Meeker – the decision wasn’t tough.
Longtime boyfriend of Kali Pillard, Meeker knew exactly who he was going to marry, and where he was going to propose. He remembered that Pillard would only marry him if it was “in the middle of a cornfield.”
And Meeker did just that.
Nearly two years ago, Meeker asked for Pillard’s hand in marriage in the middle of a cornfield just north of Coggon. This cornfield became significant for the couple, and they later tied the knot in the very same spot on September 1, 2012.
Tina and Dennis Hogan, friends of the couple and owners of the cornfield, have seen their love grow over the years.
“Kali used to babysit our girls,” Tina said. “This was an absolutely perfect day, and the weather is great.”
Around 200 guests drove down a gravel road to walk down an archway of trees leading them through a small maze of corn to discover a collection of white chairs and carved wooden signs. One in particular read: “You said you would only marry me in a cornfield so… Will you marry me?”
The bridesmaids dressed in purple were escorted by groomsmen, before revealing Pillard in a strapless, white laced dress with a gleaming smile.
Pillard’s veil fluttered in the wind as the pastor read Matthew 13:1-9, citing a farmer and his seeds, and “whoever has ears, let them hear.”
He mentioned that despite the drought, “the seed you’ve planted has grown in good soil, because it’s beautiful.”
The couple also released butterflies out of a small white box as a part of the ceremony. The butterflies symbolized new beginnings, and were asked to think silently about what they would wish for each other and their marriage.
“The butterflies will now be released to carry forth the good news of your promises of love and commitment to each other,” the pastor said.
The guests were pronounced husband and wife, sealed the union with a kiss, and applause erupted from friends and family. As guests congratulated the bride and groom on their way out, a tub of ice cold Pepsi in classic glass bottles refreshed them.
The couple later went to Manchester for their reception.
Pillard and Meeker are both from rural Ryan. Pillard currently works as the human resources director at the Good Neighbor Society in Manchester, and Meeker works at Red Star Yeast in Cedar Rapids as an industrial maintenance mechanic.