Ve Bui enjoyed his time in high school so much, he imagined that he would be there till the end of time.
Mr. Bui, who is commonly referred to as the mayor of his 1992 class at Indianola High School in Indianola, Iowa, has hosted reunions for his about 175 classmates every fifth year since graduation. Since leaving high school, Mr. Bui has not missed a single one of these gatherings. Brenda Renée Langstraat has never missed one.
The wedding couple will celebrate their 30th high school reunion together as classmates on July 30. They are now 48 years old and live in Chicago.
Mr. Bui was only two years old when the fall of Saigon occurred in 1975. He was born in Vietnam. His mother took him and his nine siblings and made their way to Iowa after they escaped the city of Vung Tau, which is located on the coast of Vietnam.
In 1978, Mr. Bui enrolled in the same kindergarten class in Indianola as Ms. Langstraat. Ms. Langstraat is the middle of three sisters and grew up on Dutch Ridge Ranch, a 220-acre cattle-turned-horse farm that is located on the outskirts of town. Mr. Bui enrolled in the same class at the same time.
Mr. Bui said that while we had known one other from childhood, we were much more outgoing in high school. He was a member of the school’s wrestling squad. Ms. Langstraat, who was noticeably quieter and more studious, participated in track and field.
When they were younger, they frequented the same parties and “scooped the loop,” which is how they referred to the practise of driving around the main strip of Indianola on Friday nights in search of buddies to hang out with at the neighbourhood pizza, burger, or ice cream joint.
Following graduation, they went their own ways, with him continuing his education at the University of Iowa and she continuing her education at Wheaton College. In later years, she attended the University of Illinois at Chicago to get a master’s degree in English from that institution.
At the time of their 25th reunion, which took place in 2017, they were both living in Chicago. Ms. Langstraat, who had just divorced, was working as the chief executive of Working in the Schools, which is a literacy group for Chicago public schools.
She remembered asking Mr. Bui, who graciously accepted his invitations on many occasions, “Would you attend to some of my galas?”
Approximately at the same time that he started going to events with her, she started going out to watch Iowa Hawkeyes games with him and his buddies at bars. The two had their first kiss in May of 2018, after attending a gala for the Chicago Run.
The summer of the following year, in 2019, he moved into her house in the West Loop after selling the condo he had previously had in the River North neighbourhood of the city. By the autumn, they had moved into a larger condominium in the area.
Ms. Langstraat said that with the arrival of the pandemic in March of 2020, “we learnt to figure out Covid together.” They went as far as dressing up for online galas. She is now the president and chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Library Foundation, and she continues to attend formal functions with Mr. Bui, who is a technical sales consultant at the Chicago office of Okta, a technological identity management business.
On December 30, 2021, he popped the question to her when they were dining at the John Hancock Tower’s Signature Room restaurant. He did so by repeating a line in both English and Spanish from the film “Dan in Real Life,” which Steve Carell starred in. He said that love was not a sensation but rather a skill that could be developed. She attempted to grab the ring as Mr. Bui was taking it out of its box. He tormented me by drawing it back and said, “You have to say ‘yes’ first.”
The couple attended two separate celebrations to commemorate their marriage. The first event was a traditional Vietnamese tea ceremony, which took place on June 4 at her parent’s farm. During the ceremony, Mr. Bui’s parents gave her a dowry that consisted of jewels and a roasted pig that weighed 40 pounds.
They exchanged vows in front of three hundred people on the 10th of June at an event location in Des Moines known as Curate. The ceremony was presided over by the Reverend Josh Blakesley, who is also a pastor of the United Church of Christ and was crowned homecoming king of their high school class. The bride, who will take the groom’s name, accessorised her wedding dress with sparkly red shoes, and one of the themes of the event was “there’s no place like home,” which was a reference to the couple’s common place of residence.