Kathryn & Ryan | Engagement Photos in St. Helena

I’m so excited (and, if I’m being completely honest, totally nervous) to share our engagement photos with you! Our wedding is coming up so quickly, and I know I’ve barely shared anything about it, so this post seemed like a good way to start talking about it. We weren’t sure that we would have a chance to take engagement pics, but when our photographer told us she would be in Napa to shoot a wedding, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. So, a few weeks ago, my honey and I were lucky enough to spend the day at a beautiful home in St. Helena, surrounded by olive trees and vineyards, eating lunch and drinking wine and giving each other lots of smooches.

I’ll admit, there was a lot of awkward nervous laughing at the beginning, which probably had something to do with all the hugging and kissing and hand-holding in front of a camera. Awkward, and also totally surreal. Like stepping through the looking glass to some alternate reality on the other side of the wedding blog, where I wear dresses and we eat cake and Elizabeth Messina takes our picture.

Our wonderful wedding planners (the inimitable Laurie Arons and Jenna Lam) put together the most perfect wine country farmers market lunch for us under the olive trees.

Sam at Perfect Endings made this darling miniature wedding cake, complete with marzipan olives and olive leaves. Chocolate cake with chocolate hazelnut truffle cream? Can you blame me for eating it for breakfast the next day?

We walked around and took photos in the vineyards that grew the grapes that made the wine that we had with lunch – such a treat! Oh, but let me give you a tip: do not try and walk barefoot in a vineyard. It might sound romantic and lovely, but then mutant thorns stab you in your feet. I swear those things had teeth. Not particularly romantic when your honey is helping you balance as he pulls the little monsters out.

This is just before I cracked up laughing because my honey kept smooshing his nose against my face.

This last one is my very favorite. To me, it looks the most like “us.” It was one of the last photos of the day and we’re in our everyday clothes, so we were way more relaxed than when we started. I also think it shows exactly how I feel, which is, “See this guy? I get to marry him!”

Photography: Elizabeth Messina

Venue: private home in St. Helena, California

Vineyards: X Winery

Lunch and details: Laurie Arons Special Events

Yellow dress / green dress / gold shoes: Kate Spade

Hair / makeup: Wallett Luburich

Cake: Perfect Endings

“I hear eloping is in” card: 9SpotMonk

It was tough deciding which photos to post (much tougher than choosing photos of someone else), so thank you to my honey for helping me narrow down our favorites (and for letting me post your handsome mug on the internet). You can check out some of Elizabeth’s favorites on her blog, Kiss the Groom, and more on Laurie’s blog where I believe she’s posting the menu of the amazing lunch she and Jenna made for us (I hope she tells you about the sandwiches, because I could eat one of those every day for the rest of my life). I’m so looking forward to having these wonderful ladies there with me on my wedding day!

A few of you have asked about my engagement ring, so I thought I’d share a bit about it. It’s a cocktail ring from the 1920’s, that came from Tail of the Yak in Berkeley. The center stone is an almandine garnet, which my honey jokes looks like a root beer barrel (you know those old fashioned hard candies?). I love it!

Kiss the Groom and Laurie Arons Special Events are sponsors of Snippet & Ink.


  • These are fantastic! You look beautiful and so happy hanging out with your other half. I’m sure you’ll cherish these forever!

  • Sally says:

    How beautiful are you guys!! The photos are amazing and I think that it must have been some kind of wonderful being in that world “where u wear dresses and eat cake and Elizabeth Messina takes your picture.” … and you know you will get to marry your special guy : )

  • Hi Kathryn…you and Ryan are too cute…I love this and of course Elizabeth captured you both so perfectly and I have to give a huge shout out to Sam at Perfect Endings…love you both…xoxoxo

  • Kathryn–these photos are lovely, the location is beautiful the dresses are fabulous. the love and happiness shines through in every photo. thanks for sharing.

  • Kathryn, these are absolutely STUNNING! You’re such an adorable couple and the photos captured your perfectly. I can only imagine what the wedding will look like!


  • You both look so relaxed and happy in all of them! Better buy up some frames because you’ve got a whole bunch of new pictures for your house :)

  • These are wonderful! So relaxed but soo rich in textures and flavors. Having a cake present at a photo shoot just makes everyone that much more smiley, I’m sure!

  • Valerie K. says:

    What a beautiful photo shoot! Does anyone know what type of engagement ring she has? :)

  • Kathryn!!!! These are absolutely stunning! What a fabulous engagement shoot! You and Ryan are adorable!!! So excited for you and can’t wait to see the wedding pics! Enjoy every second of this very special time together!!! xo, A

  • I don’t even know where to start. How adorable you guys are! The dresses! The shoes! The amazing location! The food! I am feeling a little teary they are so sweet. Is that weird? To be teary over photos of someone you’ve never met? Probably, but I’ll go with it. Anyway, gorgeous photos and it looks like it was a super fun day.

  • kathryn! congratulations! these are beautiful photos… love them! best wishes for your wedding planning. can’t wait to see how beautiful it will be. xoxo.-

  • Kathryn, you and the future mister look so happy and relaxed together(as usual). I love that yellow dress! You look great. Can you believe these are your engagement pictures and the wedding ones are soon to follow?

  • Hi Kathryn!
    These photos are stunning!!!! I am disappointed that you haven’t talked about your own wedding on your blog! I was hoping to see an inspiration board and much more…=( Please keep us posted on what you plan to do, color scheme, etc… We are dying to know, well I am DYING to know! WHO IS DOING YOUR FLOWERS!!!! (you know I would do them for you in a heart beat if you would let me, hehehe!!!)

  • Adorable! These are beautiful – so glad you shared. I brought a friend to Hitched and she was talking to you, but I was too shy to introduce myself – lame! Anyway, good to “see” you there. Love your site and can’t wait to see wedding photos :)

  • Kathryn! I’m so excited! You and Ryan are so, so precious! I love it! I love the heart, the meal, the elope sign, everything about it! Yay – you’re getting married! :)

  • Oh Kathryn, I know just how you feel! It made me smile so big when I saw your photos today on your blog… especially after I did the same thing on my blog today with wedding photos. I agree, it’s nerve-racking to post photos of yourself and see yourself in film! But (swoon), Mrs. Messina quite frankly took my breath away with your love shoot. You should know that you look absolutely gorgeous and soooo in love.

    Looking forward to being a fly on the wall for your wedding when you post those… :) Congratulations…

  • LOVE these kathryn! you look so gorgeous and i adore that you didnt over-do your love shoot :) so simple and lovely… xoxo, c

  • You two look amazing together! You’re a beautiful couple. I love that I can see the love between you two. It’s really sweet :)

  • Kathryn!!!

    Congratulations! You guys are absolutely adorable! I’m soooo happy for you! And what a dream to have Elizabeth and your photographer! AHHHH!!!! :)

  • How darling! Your green dress is particularly lovely, and I die for those shoes. My favorite is the one of your fiance holding up the heart while you smooch him. Very cute.

  • Yay Kathryn! You look so beautiful, and Elizabeth’s photos are incredible as always! You and Ryan look so incredibly happy. :)

  • These turned out amazing!!! Elizabeth did such a great job capturing the adorableness between you both. Can’t wait to see how she captures your wedding day :)

  • This is such a wonderful shoot!! And yes no one could help but to eat that gooooooorgeous little cake! Congrats to the both of you…

  • Lovely, loving two-some. Beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing a sneak peak of your relationship with us! What a treat.

  • Gretal says:

    Really beautiful!! I’d love to hear more about your wedding & planning..

  • I met you at Jordan’s craft night, and I wanted to tell you how adorable your engagement photos are! You two make a very sweet couple!

  • Lily says:

    Kathryn! You look so beautiful!! I’m sure you too will be incredibly happy.

  • WOW! You LOOK SO BEAUTIFUL! You honey (as you say :-) ) looks so handsome! goodness gracious you guys are a striking pair and look so happy in love, congratulations you two!! hugs!

  • You don’t give yourself enough credit! These pictures are beautiful and you look amazing! The heart photos are my favorite. I can’t wait to hear more about your planning :)

  • meg says:

    Your ring is BEAUTIFUL and so are you!! Thanks for sharing these great pictures with all of us : )

  • Kathryn… these are SO stunning… I’m so glad you decided to share them with us! And like you I love that last one too… it just looks so natural. Love that there are no major props, just you two! Can’t wait to see the wedding!

  • What a wonderful e-session. Congratulation Kathryn! Elizabeth Messina is the Great Photographer ever! I can’t wait to see the wedding. Hugs

  • These are gorgeous!! Unfortunately when my fiance and I did ours, the awkwardness just never seem to let up. Luckily it didn’t show too much in the pictures. Hopefully wedding photos won’t be as awkward!

  • Austen says:

    These beautiful pictures of you two make me feel happy! It’s such a treat to see your photos, thank you!

  • um holy crap, these are amazing.

    when i first saw this, i was like, oh cool elizabeth messina. then i kept scrolling down, and thought, wow, that kind of looks like kathryn, WAIT! that IS kathryn!

    SO AWESOME! congrats to you both and you look SUPER pretty!

    i HEART the shot of him holding the heart above his head and you planting one on him. amazing.

  • Oh you two are so beautiful. So fresh-faced, is the only way I can put it. And the photos are fantastic. Thank you for sharing. I can imagine it was a little nerve-wracking. But you are just a regular bride too:).

  • Molly says:

    Kathryn, your pictures are fabulous! They really communicate a whimsical, fun day, and seem so appropriate. Gorgeous!

  • congrats kathryn. these photos are so great! so sweet and romantic! The little sign about eloping confuses me though~ are you planning to elope? I bet some days you feel like doing so! wedding planning can be so fun, but definitely stressful at times! Especially when you feel like the whole world is watching I bet! anyways, love these photos-thanks for sharing. you & your man are darling!

  • ooooooo…. ;) you’re sooooo pretty. and the pictures are soooo pretty. and you’re getting married!!!!!!!!!! and you’re my friend. :) so much love and i can’t wait until i get get my arms around you for a great big hug. (but it will be a significantly smaller hug because you look TEENY.

  • redfrizzz says:

    BEAUTIFUL! Finally, a face to the space! And you two are such a beautiful couple. Not that it matters, but I also like the final photo, it appears so genuine and relaxed. Congrats on beautiful photos!

  • Hi Kathryn and Ryan,

    Congratulations and thank you for featuring our 9SpotMonk “I hear eloping is in” card. Send us an email to studio@9spotmonk.com and we’ll let you know of the goodies we have in store for your upcoming nuptials.

    Enjoy your engagement!!

    Katie at 9SpotMonk

  • Alex Wakeman says:

    Kathryn, you and Ryan are so beautiful! So happy to see you still together after we spent those years together in the Delta :)

  • Love, love, love the last five shots! So relaxed and happy! And so happy *for* you two cuties!

  • I love the photos – so sweet, simple, and fun. It’s so cool that you’re sharing your photos with your Snippet and Ink readers. I am in the process of planning my wedding for next August and I am addicted to your blog. I always find inspiration to draw from through the entries you post. Thank you!

  • You guys look so blissful! What a great day. Your outfits are excellent and you look beautiful. Congratulations! I can’t wait for you to reveal all of your details.

    P.S. Is Tyler Florence going to cater your wedding???

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