Kayla Harper, nee Varner, married Philadelphia Phillies’ newest outfielder Bryce Harper in 2016. The two got engaged and were planning to tie the knot in January 2015, but the wedding never happened and Kayla disappeared from Bryce’s social media account for several months.
Flash forward to July 2016, and the two revealed that they were back on when they showed up to the ESPY Awards together. Kayla then showed off her engagement ring on Instagram, and the two tied the knot five months later.
Kayla, who played soccer in college, is often spotted at the ballpark, taking in nine innings of a Nationals game. When she’s not cheering on her husband, she is trying new foods, spending time with her dog, or raising money for charity.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. She’s a Foodie & a Dog Lover
Kayla Harper is a self-proclaimed foodie. In fact, she lives by the motto: food is better than a “summer bod.” She and Bryce started their very own foodie-Instagram account called Harp Eats. The couple has been documenting some of the food that they have eaten over the past year.
“A couple trying to show the world that food babies can be more appealing than abs,” reads the Harp Eats bio. In recent months, the couple noshed on Captain Crunch French Toast at Blue Moon Cafe And Blue Moon Too in Fells Point and enjoyed oysters and lobster rolls at The Salt Line near the Navy Yard in D.C.
“We relish in the chance to try new restaurants all over the country,” Kayla told The Knot News last year.
Kayla Harper is also a huge dog lover, and often shares snaps of her pup, Wrigley, whom she lovingly refers to as “Wriggles.” Wrigley is a Morkie (a Maltese/Yorkie mix). You can see him in the photo below.
2. She Married Bryce Harper in 2016
Kayla and Bryce were engaged and planning to tie the knot in January 2015, but the two didn’t end up getting married at that time. Rumor has it that the two split for a few months, but eventually found their way back to one another, making their (second) engagement announcement on Instagram in July 2016.
Five months later, the two exchanged vows at the San Diego Mormon Temple. Their family and friends then partied the night away at San Diego’s iconic Polo Fields.
“We made a grand entrance at the reception and then, we had a quick ring ceremony… We did it on the middle of the dance floor surrounded by our bridal party and all of our family and friends. My grandpa explained what we did in the temple, and then, we actually had our videographer do a same-day edit. So he kind of gave a little video of us at the temple so people could get a little piece of that too,” Kayla told The Knot News last year.
Kayla and Bryce actually paid to have a huge barn made on the property in order to fit everyone inside.
Kayla wore a white wedding gown designed by Penelope Perkins, while Bryce wore a custom suit by Stitched. The company actually lined the inside of the jacket with pictures from the couple’s engagement photos.
Their wedding cake was far from ordinary; it was a donut cake from VG Donut and Bakery.
3. She Played Soccer at BYU & Ohio State
Kayla is also an athlete. After playing soccer at Green Valley High School, she set her sights on Brigham Young University in Utah, where she continued fostering her love for the sport.
While at BYU, her career included a game-winning penalty kick in the 2012 NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen game against Marquette. She had a goal and three assists in her 33 BYU games.
After her sophomore year at BYU, Kayla transferred to Ohio State. In her junior year at the school, she had two goals and five assists in 20 matches.
In high school, she had 111 career goals and 85 assists.
4. She Was Raised Mormon & Is Still a Part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Kayla was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, to her parents, Sean and Lizz Varner. She and her siblings, McKay and Markus, were raised Mormon. Kayla has a link to the church’s website in her Instagram profile and often shares photos of her church.
When she married Bryce Harper in December 2016, the couple chose to have their wedding ceremony at San Diego Mormon Temple.
“I dreamt of being sealed in the San Diego Temple, and Bryce agreed that this was the right place for us,” Kayla told The Knot News last year. “Religion was obviously the most important part of our marriage. The temple marriage is very sacred. Our religion is very private, and only certain people can attend the ceremony. So it was really nice to just enjoy that with our immediate family,” she added.
5. She Does Charity Work
Bryce Harper is known for his charity work through Harper’s Heroes, which raises money for children battling cancer. Kayla is also frequently involved with raising money for those less fortunate. Her Twitter bio includes a link to the Alliance for Haiti’s Children, a charity that helps children in Haiti get an education.
In December 2014, she took to Twitter to ask her followers to donate as part of “Giving Tuesday.”
Kayla and Bryce have also joined forces to do charity work. Last month, she announced that she and Bryce were participating in a charity bracket through the Nationals’ organization.
“Hey Everyone! Bryce and I are excited to be participating in the @Nationals Charity Bracket Challenge and would love your help. Please help us support something that is very near and dear to our hearts, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! By purchasing tickets ($10) at Nationals.com/Bracket with the code “TeamBryce” The proceeds will go to the cause and the Nationals Dream Foundation will give an additional $5000 to the winners charity! #TeamBryce,” she wrote.