Pleased to meet you... an interview with uber wedding planners Wynn Austin & Thomas Bui

Wynn Austin of Wynn Austin Events and Thomas Bui of Thomas Bui Lifestyle are the best of friends. They are also widely acknowledged as two of the top event designers and planners in Southern California. We were able to get to know them a little better a while back and learn what motivates these two passionate people who are both so incredibly talented at creating beautiful weddings.  We are so pleased to meet .... Wynn Austin and Thomas Bui...

What did you want to be when you grew up?
: I wasn’t sure the exact position I wanted to be in, but I wanted to be in the business world and climb the corporate ladder so I can wear a suit everyday.  Then, when I was in it, I hated the corporate culture and I hated wearing suites.  Thomas: I wanted to be a High-End Fashion Designer, but now I’m a High-End Wedding Designer so I think it’s pretty close to what I wanted to do.

What was your first job ever? 
: I was a bank teller   Thomas: I was a pharmacy clerk

Who inspires you?
: Steve Jobs, Oprah, and Tony Robbins.  They are three amazing people that overcame adversity and became successful because they stuck to what they believed in.   Thomas: Steve Jobs, Karl Lagerfeld, and Preston Bailey. The vision and the products that they create are amazing, and I love how they dream big and out of the box.

Why do you love what you do?
: I love what I do because I love working with couples and getting to know them and their families.  Also, it’s such a thrill to see everything that we planned and brainstorm to come together before our eyes.  I love having the couple see the room for the first time.  Even for me when we are running around all day, and to stand back and see the finished room, it’s an amazing feeling.  This job allows me to embrace my creativity and to design and create things that don’t exist.   Thomas: I love creating new spaces and taking on an element that the client loves and expanding that vision to a higher level that they didn’t know existed.

Did you / do you have a mentor or hero?
: My hero is my mom.  I know sometimes I take her for granted but I wouldn’t have all that I have if it wasn’t for her hard work.  I am lucky to have a lot of Mentors! I have my fabulous best friend Thomas Bui to be my wedding mentor in this industry.  I have my friend Mike Bosworth, who is an entrepreneur & author who continues to teach me that I need to work smarter not harder.  My biggest mentor is my husband who’s taught me to think out of my comfort zone.  Thomas: My mentors are my parents

What is your specialty? 
Wynn: My specialty is my passion for design.  I love the design element of weddings and bringing up ideas to my clients that they love.  Also, I would say another specialty is working with people.  I’ve always learned that you have to treat all people with respect. I work well with people, even when something goes wrong or not according to plan, or when we are all under pressure.   Thomas: My specialty is styling weddings & events. 

What do you like most about doing weddings? /  your favorite part of your job?
: I love that it’s always a happy event.  Even when I know during the process everyone gets nervous and things can get pretty stressful.  I know that moment will pass and the end result will be a beautiful couple and a beautiful wedding.  On the wedding day there is always so much amazing energy because everyone is excited and happy, and that’s what I love!   Thomas: I love the entire process of planning.  From brainstorming different ideas, showing clients different products, and putting together all the details. 

If you could have a super power what would it be? 
Wynn: I would love to be able to read people’s minds.   Thomas: I want to be able to see the future, and predict the weather way in advance 

What is your most memorable [professional] wedding moment[s]?
Wynn: My most memorable moment happened last week.  It was a Saturday wedding, and the weather was acting up, sprinkling, then clearing up, then sprinkling.  We decided to have the ceremony inside so the chuppah was all set up.  But then the sun came out and the couple really wanted to have an outside ceremony.  Next thing I knew I had 5 handsome groomsmen that came in and picked up the chuppah and carried it outside.  It was crazy but cool at the same time.  Like something out of a movie.   Thomas: My most professional moment was when I was first starting out and I was getting hired for jobs where I was competing against very well known and high end planners.  It was a moment that made me proud because I felt it was a big accomplishment and turning point in my career.

What is the place in the world [where you haven’t been] that you would want to visit the most? And why?
: I have so many places on my list.  One place that is on top of my list is Japan.  I love the food and the crazy fashion.  I want to experience the hustle & bustle of Tokyo.   Thomas: I want to go South Africa, it’s always been my dream to experience the safari.

If you could have 6 people to dinner from any time or place in the world who would they be and where would you dine [and on what]? 
: My people would be Oprah, Coco Chanel,  F.Scott Fitzgerald, Tony Robbins, Preston Bailey, Steve Jobs.  We  would be dining on French food & wine in a little café in Paris.  Thomas: Coco Chanel, Motzart, Da Vinci, Tom Ford, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Barbara Barry.  We would be dining in a castle in Paris with a tasting menu where everything was infused with champagne.

What’s your best advice to couple regarding your specific field?
: Hire a wedding planner that you click with and understand your style.  It’s a long -term relationship.  Also, if you have a planner that understands your priority and can accommodate that.   Thomas: Trust your wedding planner’s judgment.  They do this for a living and you hired them for their knowledge.

Is there any specific music/artist/song that gets your creative juices flowing?
Wynn: Bruno Mars  Thomas: Hip Hop- Pitbull

How do you come up with the inspiration for your work? Designs? Ideas?
Wynn: I get my inspiration from home magazines & books.  Also, fashion magazines.  Sometimes I just browse the mall or boutiques to find inspiration.  Thomas: I read a lot of books and get my inspiration from my travels and from the fashion industry.

What should brides/grooms/curious seekers know about you? 
: I’m pretty playful, I like to joke around a lot and make people laugh.  Thomas: I enjoy fashion so I take pride on my style, my manners, and knowledge of etiquette.  I’m also well connected in the community.

What makes your business wonderful and stand out from the rest?
: I think Thomas and I have our own style & design niche but we also share a niche of the Vietnamese community.  I think aside from the cultural standpoint, what makes my business stand out is that I’m willing to do and try new things.  So if a couple and I come up with an idea, and I know it’s something that my team can build or make, I’ll toy with the idea and see if we can make it work.  Thomas: I’m one of the few men wedding  planners in San Diego and it’s always been my thing.  I feel like I can bring a masculine feel or element to a wedding in the design.

What advice do you have for brides to be?
:  Enjoy the process and don’t put things off.  The sooner you get things done, the less you have to worry about later.  That way you can enjoy  and relax before your wedding.  Thomas: Splurge on your big day for something that you really want because you can’t bring that day back and change it later.  Also, don’t micromanage your vendors, hire professional vendors and trust them.

What do you do in your ‘off time’ that might surprise people about you? 
Wynn: I’m a bit of a nerd so I like to read a lot.  Also my other passion is to cook. Thomas: I love shopping & shoes so I like to go shopping!

What’s your favorite part of a wedding?
:  My favorite part is when I send the bride down the aisle.  I love watching her go down the aisle.  That’s the moment everyone is anticipating and that’s the whole reason for the wedding. Thomas: I love seeing everything come together on the wedding day and seeing the couple happy.