With 18 years of experience, Katherine Shell Benson knows exactly how to make a bride feel at ease every step of the way.

Event planning wasn’t always the dream for Katherine Shell Benson of Bella Baxter Special Events. She started out as a classically trained chef who worked as a catering manager for a company in Little Rock. But she’s always loved events—so much so that she married someone who’s also in the event industry.

She opened Bella Baxter 10 years ago and specializes in everything from weddings and VIP parties to corporate and nonprofit events. Though she has her hand in several different genres of event planning, wedding planning has her heart. “There is something about love and a wedding ceremony that brings happy tears to my eyes every time!”

Something Katherine wishes more brides knew is just how beneficial having a planner with you every step of the way can be. “Wedding planners make everything go smoother during the wedding planning process and on your wedding day,” she says. “We are the ultimate project managers and you are the CEO. We are there to execute your vision and alleviate stress. Weddings are meant to be enjoyed, by all who attend, but especially by the couple–wedding planners make sure that happens!”

Kevin Barré Photography

We’re dying to ask Katherine…

What’s something brides would be surprised to know that you can help them with?

“We are a concierge service event planning firm, so if you want something as wacky as dolphins swimming down the Arkansas River during your ceremony or as simple as invitation tracking, we will make it happen! You only have to ask.”

What's something you wish every bride knew before starting the planning process?

“It should be enjoyable. If you’re not having fun, then something is wrong.”

If a bride gave you full reign to design the day however you wanted, what would you do?

“A multi-course fancy dinner with all the bells and whistles, in a spot no one had ever [thrown] a party before, with an after party that has a kicking band and a burger or taco truck outside. I love fancy events that end with all-out throwdowns.”

Janet Howard Studio

Lindsay Campball Photography


Company: Bella Baxter Special Events
Based in: Little Rock

Mission statement: “Events should be stress-free and have personality. It is a party after all, so planning for it should be fun!”

Signature style: “We focus on custom events with a concierge feel. We design every event to reflect our client’s style, having designed everything from mid-century modern to romantic garden to over-the-top luxe events.”

What they offer: Full-service planning; month-of planning; destination planning; micro-wedding planning; and partial wedding planning

No matter your budget, there’s a planner out there who is ready to make all of your wedding dreams come true. Find out more with IN GOOD HANDS: Your Comprehensive Guide to Event Planning & Design in Arkansas.