Offbeat Couple: Jayleen and Kailer
Date and Location: 10/01/2022 – Renfrew Park + Backyard, Waynesboro, PA
It was the week of Jayleen and Kailer's wedding. Kailer tested positive for COVID, and a nor'easter from Hurricane Ian was dropping record-breaking wind and rainfall on Pennsylvania. Thus, come the morning of their wedding, Jayleen was understandably in tears... but wait until you see how things turned around!
In their own words – and through the eyes of the talented Lisa Rhineheart – here is their beautiful story:
Jayleen: I was LEGIT heartbroken thinking that everything was ruined… it felt like everything that could go wrong did. Even one of the tents had gotten demolished by the wind! I was a mess… but then Kailer and I saw a double rainbow right outside the house! It was a sign that all was as it should be.
Jayleen: I went from being upset to focusing on the positive – what was going right, and why we’re doing this. I was marrying the person of my dreams! We were going to have the best day ever and love love love all the way through it. And that’s exactly what happened – we had the best love party ever!
Kailer: Our wedding venue was my parent’s house. It wasn’t our original plan but it turned out to be the perfect location. Given the year we had – new baby, new house – we needed to scale things back and focus on the pieces we really wanted the most.
Jayleen: The Patterson house has always felt like a safe space for us as we navigated all sorts of life stuff. We always say that ‘things are as they should be‘ and this was one of those moments where everything unfolded as it was meant to. We both appreciated Kailer’s mom, Michele, reminding us to focus on what matters most to us.
Jayleen: When we started the planning process, we agreed that we wanted to make this the most down-to-earth, authentic experience that was a true reflection of us. We knew this expression of our love was not just for us, but also for our communities, for those who have been denied or had to fight to express love in the ways they wanted and needed.
Jayleen: We love the colors, but also what they represent – the uniqueness and strength of our communities. We wanted to infuse color however we could, so we decided to have a rainbow party instead of a traditional wedding party!
Jayleen: Color is a significant part of our relationship. We both had previous lives where we didn’t feel authentically ourselves. We didn’t feel seen. When we found each other, we promised to always let ourselves shine wherever and however.
Kailer: I found my suit at one of the last stores I visited. As soon as I saw it, I knew. It felt like me. I had no clue my mom had a special patch made for inside the jacket. I didn’t see it at first so my mom had to show me. I absolutely loved that she did that. It was another representation of my mom’s love for me, and she always finds a way to show it in the smallest details.
Jayleen: I identify as non-binary, and when searching for an outfit, I wanted something that honored that part of me. I was also pregnant during this process, and knew the wedding would be when I was postpartum, so I needed an outfit that would also be comfortable. My mom found the bridal designer we fell in love with: Barbara Kavchok. She took all that I wanted and created something so magical, so very much me. I felt so whimsical and free!
Kailer: We decided to have our “first look” at Renfrew Park, because nature is a significant part of our relationship. It's close to my parent’s house, and we really love exploring the trails there and walking our dog, Bailey. We both love the outdoors – it's both energizing and grounding.
Jayleen: We chose the bridge because Kailer wanted a location we could meet without seeing each other so our first look could feel like a surprise for both of us. I thought the bridge would allow that to happen while also providing a romantic backdrop.
Jayleen: We purposefully didn't share what we’d be wearing because we wanted to choose attire that felt most like ourselves and didn’t want to influence the other inadvertently. So when the umbrellas came down, and I saw Kailer standing there, I was completely overtaken. It was like a million butterflies just bursting from my heart (yes, I am this dramatic LOL)!
Jayleen: He is such a handsome guy – I tell him this all the time – but the suit was really a representation of him inside and out. He is vibrant, beautiful, bold, and adventurous. And I was so excited he chose something so striking!
Kailer: That's when Jayleen showed me and told me about the earrings they were wearing. They chose Sorrelli earrings with green stones to honor my childhood best friend, Bethany, who died from cancer at 15 years-old. I just broke down crying. It meant more than they will ever know.
Jayleen: We always say the universe conspired to bring us together. We'd both been previously married, and when we met, I was going through a tough divorce. Our paths crossed at Shippensburg University – the last place I thought I’d ever find love, because being queer in South Central PA isn't easy.
Jayleen: I think what I appreciate most about Kailer is that his core self truly speaks to mine – he sees me in a way others don’t, and makes space for all of me. I’m very talkative, outgoing, passionate, and outspoken. I’m the dreamer, impulsive type. He’s my anchor, keeps me grounded – but not in a boring way!
Jayleen: He’s as adventurous as I am, down to drive over an hour just for cookies, and can make me laugh like no one else. Most of all, I am in awe of his pride as a trans man – it’s an identity that's so very important to him, and he's had to overcome multiple levels of adversity to get to this place. He inspires me daily. It’s so beautiful to witness him.
Jayleen: Every little thing represented a piece of our story. We did our best to throw out tradition and make it our own. Each of our rainbow parties walked in to songs that meant something special to each of us. Kailer’s was “You Got a Friend in Me” and mine was “With A Little Help From My Friends.”
Jayleen: Our son Phoenix carried our rings to a song Kailer picked out, about a stepparent loving their stepchild as their own. Kailer and I walked down the aisle to Brandi Carlile’s “The Story,” because at the end of the day, that song says it ALL.
Kailer: As Jayleen said, the universe truly brought us together. When I met them, I'd finally let go of trying to find love. I had so much love to give, and I wanted someone to give it to. A few years ago, I had a profound breakfast with my Grams. She told me that I should ask the universe for what I wanted, and end it with ‘this, or something better‘…and then open my hand and let go. And that’s exactly what I did.
Kailer: I'd also learned that I needed to give some of that love to myself. When I was truly happy being alone (as happy as I could be), that’s when Jayleen walked into my life and turned my world upside down in the best possible way. They are my wings, they help me to not take life so seriously. They see me as I’ve never been seen before. They’re truly my twin flame.
Jayleen: We danced with all of our parents regardless of gender because fuck traditional expectations of masculinity and performance. We danced with our children because they're a reflection of our love.
Double rainbow wedding vendors
- Photographer: Lisa Rhinehart of Rhinehart Photography IG: @rhineheartphotography
- DJ: Party With GQ IG: @PartyWithGq
- Bridal Gown Designer: Barbara Kavchok IG: @BarbaraKavchok