Welcome to our “Day in the Life” series! We feature wedding and event planners from around the world with many different levels of experience. If you would like to be featured, download our questionnaire here and email your responses and photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are excited to feature Houston wedding planner Anshwa Lewis today!
Name: Anshwa LaRue Lewis
Business Name & Location: SwaLaRue Events, LLC in Houston, Texas
Years Working in the Event Industry: 6
Years Owning Your Event Planning Business: just over a year
Twitter ID: @swalarue
What is your typical day like?
Time management is of the utmost importance to me to ensure I am catering to my client’s needs and handling all of the business functions behind the scenes. In the military, we have what is referred to as a ‘battle rhythm’. This is a chart/matrix – usually set up on a calendar that identifies what tasks are to be completed on which days of the week/month/quarter. The tasks included on the ‘battle rhythm’ are all the routine functions that must be completed in order to maintain effectiveness. This system worked extremely well for me in the military; so it made sense to adopt this system to my new career as a wedding planner. Five (5) days a week, I make sure I get in a cardio and/or weight lifting workout first thing in the morning followed by completing tasks related to different business functions, depending on the day of the week.
How did you get started in the industry?
I planned my first event as a senior at the United States Military Academy. There was just something about booking a dancing company from NYC, catering services, marketing for the event and directing the production itself that truly fit my personality. At the end of the program, I’d realized that I spent four years at a military college studying to become an engineer—only to find that my TRUE calling was event planning!
As a Human Resource Officer in the US Army, I was responsible for etiquette & decor for my organization for special events. I worked on designing invitations and programs, being mistress of ceremonies, booking vendors for military balls and banquets and organizing countless award ceremonies. Though this was only a portion of my job description, I enjoyed it more than anything.
While I was deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom, in the little free time I had, I spent my days imagining what my wedding to my college sweetheart would be like as my family and friends all mailed me bridal magazines to keep me company during my deployment. I put a lot of thought into how we could make our special day unique and memorable and NOT ‘just another wedding’. That’s when it hit me. I not only wanted to be an event planner – I wanted to be a wedding planner. And immediately began pursuing my Certification in Wedding and Event Planning.
Where do you find design inspiration?
Before becoming a business owner, I gathered most of my inspiration for weddings from television. But now I find inspiration as far away from the typical as possible! Places like IKEA and other furniture stores, thrift shops, and craft stores all inspire me. The Weddings in Houston Magazine has been the best resource for finding amazing local talent. And I also love to read fashion blogs and subscribe to a home décor & food & wine magazine to find inspiration. As a member of the Association of Bridal Consultants, we also receive a Wedding Planner magazine that allows us to stay ahead of industry trends.
What are your favorite online resources for your business?
I have two absolute favorites that have been invaluable in gaining knowledge this past year: Wedding Business Guide and COWI (Community of Wedding Innovators)
Anshwa, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story and a day in your life. If you are an event planner and would like to be featured, download our questionnaire today and email it to us along with a photo. If you aren’t sure about being featured, take a few minutes to read how it can help your business.