10 Questions with Katherine Shell Benson

WeddingRule Interviewed one of the most popular and highly sought-after wedding planners in Tennessee, Katherine Shell Benson of Bella Baxter Events. Memphis based Katherine is the founder and owner of Bella Baxter Events.

Bella Baxter Events

Planner - Katherine Shell Benson

10 Questions with Katherine Shell Benson

1. Introduction: What's your story?

Hello! I am Katherine Shell Benson (or KSB for short), founder and lead planner at Bella Baxter Events. We are a concierge event planning firm based out of my two favorite cities - Memphis, TN & Little Rock, AR. My love for events started close to 20 years ago when I left University with a degree in Culinary Science (that's right, I was a classically trained chef first). I spent the first years of my career in the culinary industry and 7 of them as catering manager of a large catering firm in Little Rock, Arkansas. There I learned all about executing successful VIP events, weddings, and parties. Eventually, I decided to leave the catering world completely and start Bella Baxter Events, where I could focus my desire to create custom events for my clients with a concierge touch. How did Bella Baxter Events end up in two cities? Well, I am a Little Rock girl who married into Memphis and I can't get enough of both of my now hometowns. Why party in one spot when you can have two? LOL

2. What's your experience as a wedding planner? How many weddings have you planned?

We have planned over 150 custom weddings in the last 11 years all over the country - from California to the Caribbean. Plus we also have executed over 50 VIP events - backstage at concerts, private parties, non profit events, conferences, huge galas - you name it, we have planned it! Weddings well always be our favorite though because we love love!

3. What sorts of services do you offer (month-of coordination, full-service planning, or à la carte planning)?

Bella Baxter Events offers concierge Month of Coordination, Partial Planning, and Full Service Planning Options.

4. How do payments work (a percentage of the wedding budget, a flat fee etc.)? What are the different packages that you offer and which one is your most popular package?

At Bella Baxter, we do Flat Fee based pricing for our packages with add ons as desired. We also offer the two level pricing option of planning with a coordinator at the Associate or Master Level of experience. Our most popular package has all ways been the Full Service Package because we really know how to put the fun back into planning here at Bella Baxter Events!

5. Who else is in your team and how many people on your staff will be at the wedding?

We have several Master + Associate Level Coordinators on staff at Bella Baxter Events plus a full day of assistant staff. The number of staff at the wedding day is always based on the guest count and complexity of the wedding. Some weddings need lots of staff, while others are more intimate affairs that only need a few. No matter what though, your lead coordinator and one assistant staffer are on site all day for every Bella Baxter wedding day.

6. What happens if you're sick or otherwise unable to be there on the day of the wedding?

We work as a team here a Bella Baxter Events and have a great communication system set up between our clients and staff, so goodness forbid if something does happen to your lead coordinator, another Bella Baxter team member is well versed on your wedding and ready to lead the charge in a moments notice.

7. How many meetings will you have with the couple and how will they be involved?

We really want our couples to feel super involved and like their voice is being heard. The clients are the ultimate CEO's and we are the project managers! At Bella Baxter we believe in lots of transparency and good communication - otherwise, how can we create an event that looks and feels like our clients? We base the number of meetings on the event and client needs, some clients need more and some need less. It is always about creating a custom built concierge experience for our clients.

Our vendor selection process is also very custom to our clients. After we create our design for you based on your budget, vision, and personalities - we custom curate a list of vendors whom we think might be the best fit for you. From there, together with the clients we narrow down that list until every vendor fits just perfectly to our clients needs.

8. Will you handle the invitations, from wording and ordering to the addressing and mailing? What about guest list coordination and RSVPs?

At Bella Baxter Events, everything we do has the personal touch so we take our clients through every step of this process. We also coordinate addressing, mailing, guest list, and RSVPs as requested. Pretty events happen because of pretty paperwork and we see this as a large part of the organization process to ensuring a successful event.

9. Do you handle rentals? Will you coordinate delivery, arrival and set up times with the photographer, the florist, the musicians and the caterer/banquet manager?

Yes, of course! We coordinate all of those things. At Bella Baxter Events, we coordinate and manage every aspect of your wedding day to ensure a smooth and beautiful event.

10. Can you create a timeline that tells everyone involved in the planning process (other pros, members of the wedding party, to-be-weds and families) what to do and when to do it? How will you make sure everyone sticks to the schedule?

Yes, of course! For every event we create a custom planning schedule and a custom day of timeline for everyone involved. It is discussed and sent out to all involved. Again, pretty paperwork makes for a pretty event day! As for to how everyone stays on schedule? That is our little Bella Baxter Events secret! But when you have come to a Bella Baxter Event, you will know we make the day fun and flow on time!

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Awards

WeddingRule Editor’s Choice 2021