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Charm on the Farm

Shepherdstown natives return home for a fall wedding on the family farm.

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It’s no surprise this love story begins in Italy—the land of Romeo and Juliet, where the nights are long, the wine glasses are full, and the people are beautiful. What is surprising is that Jillian Cobb and Jeremy Zimmerman weren’t together to enjoy it.  

But long before Italy, Jillian and Jeremy were friends for nearly 10 years—from playing soccer in eighth grade to sharing a duplex with friends in college. Spending a lot of time together, they soon realized they were feeling something more than friendly affection. “There was always that friendship. We had such good chemistry through our shared interests,” Jeremy says. “But then it became much more than that. It was the sort of attraction that you realize means you want to spend the rest of your life with that person.”

The realization blossomed the night before Jillian left to spend a semester abroad in Italy. “We went on a few dates right before I left, but we didn’t know how it was going to play out,” Jillian says. “It ended up being a very important step in our relationship. We talked every day. The commitment just sort of followed, and we both knew we had something special.” When she returned to America six months later, they were inseparable.

Good Morning

Fast-forward three years. Despite life once again sending them in opposite directions—but across the state instead of the globe—Jeremy and Jillian decided to take their relationship to the next level. They bought a townhouse in Morgantown and began traveling to Pittsburgh to look at vintage rings. Jillian knew the proposal was coming, which made it hard for Jeremy. “I kept putting it off because I wanted it to be really elaborate. I wanted to catch her off guard. But I just couldn’t contain it anymore,” he says.

So after Jillian came home from a morning workout at 6 a.m. one day, he got down on one knee and asked the question. “I was so nervous,” he says. “You play it over in your head and you think you know what you’ll say, but the emotions take over. Luckily I got out enough words for her to realize what I was doing.” It just so happens his sense of urgency enabled him to catch Jillian in a moment of surprise. “I knew it was coming, but I didn’t expect it that morning,” she says. “All of my friends were woken up with excited phone calls at 6:30 in the morning.”

A Family Affair

For many couples, the search for the perfect venue is a daunting task. But Jeremy and Jillian were set on a location—her family’s farm near Shepherdstown. A peach orchard would serve as the ceremony location, and their old 19th century bank barn would house the reception. “I had spent so much time at her family farm, and in the barn especially, throughout high school. It was a place of many memories for us and our friends and families,” Jeremy says. “We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect setting.”

Even though picking the venue was easy, getting it ready for the wedding was not without stress. Once they realized more than 200 people would be attending, the barn’s structural integrity came into question. “We wanted to make sure it could handle the traffic,” Jillian says. “It became clear that the main beams were riddled with termites. It probably wouldn’t have stood much longer.” So her dad got to work restoring the barn—one ancient timber beam at a time. The floor was pulled out and replaced, and the barn was wired for electricity. Jeremy and Jillian even spent a weekend power washing and repainting the structure. All was done with less than nine months until the wedding, and the barn was still floorless three months before the big day.

Wedding planning also became a family affair. Jillian’s parents planted a field of sunflowers connecting the peach orchard and the barn, with several varieties of sunflowers so they had to count how many days it would take each variety to bloom and plant accordingly. Jillian and her mother also began searching for an old truck to park in front of the sunflower field for photos. “We looked at three different trucks before finding the one,” Jillian says. “My mom has a really good eye, and she knew exactly what she was looking for.” She found a green 1942 Ford pickup that hadn’t run in years and had to be towed to the farm.

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