How Events Designer Thomas Bui Brings to Life the “Fairy Tale” Magic From His Childhood in Vietnam

by Matthew Roser


Thomas Bui began his life under the heavy influence of European customs. He learned French and witnessed extravagant events hosted by his family, many of which dignitaries attended. This “fairy tale” setting inspired a young Thomas and quickly gave him the desire to plan events of his own. Unlike most leaders in his industry, however, this is where the similarities end.

At only eight years of age, Thomas and his family were forced to flee their beloved home of Vietnam. They and a small handful of families escaped the country only one day before communist revolution. And unfortunately, the road back to a normal life was long and arduous, forcing Thomas to see many terrible things. Yet, the beautiful parties and happy memories stuck and became the driving force for the man he is today.

Thomas believes that a meaningful event requires calmness. Every couple desires the perfect wedding, for example, but the reality is that some of those fine details are sure to go wrong. Thomas says that you should ignore hiccups and focus on what really matters: celebrating the love you have created with your other half.

“A wedding is not about the new trends, but incorporating your own personal style,” he says. The more that you and your partner can pull from yourselves, the more meaningful your ceremony will become. Thomas cautions that focusing too much outside of yourself diminishes the beauty of your wedding. He goes on further, casually remarking that if something goes wrong, the worst case scenario is that your linens may be cream colored instead of white, or your flower arrangement might not be quite as full as you had wished – hardly life or death. If these problems upset you, then the wedding becomes focused on the details of design instead of the spiritual union of marriage.

When asked about memorable weddings, Thomas emphatically replies that he is fond of destination weddings. These types of events are the most work, of course, “but everyone invited to the ceremony is there for a reason,” he explains. Each person on the guest list has contributed in some special way to the lives of the bride and groom. Thomas also speaks of the power of the wedding, citing that he has seen parents stricken with terminal illnesses fight their afflictions to witness their child’s wedding.

Thomas reminds us that calmness and surrounding ourselves with the right people will enrich the wedding, but we must not forget the purpose of that sacred ceremony. The true key to a happy wedding is the genuine love between two people. If that love is strong enough, it will outshine the minor mistakes that are bound to happen. And it will lay the foundation for a strong resistance against the unexpected confrontations found in the future of living as husband and wife.


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Thomas Bui is the founder and lead designer of Thomas Bui Lifestyles, a San Diego-based events company that specializes in extravagant and unforgettable memories. Thomas commands the ability to speak French, Vietnamese, English, and medical Spanish. Mr. Bui also holds multiple degrees in the life sciences as well as an M.B.A. Thomas’s website is