It all started with a headshot. Benjamin Bratcher saw Victoria Lee’s photo when he was a junior and she was an incoming freshman at Abilene Christian University, in Texas. Both theater majors, they met at a department party in August of 2013.
“He struck up a conversation with me,” Ms. Lee said. “I was instantly attracted to him. He is one of the most genuine and authentic people I have ever met.”
Ms. Lee, 26, is from Abilene, Texas. Mr. Bratcher, 28, was born in Greeley, Colo., and raised in Hildesheim, Germany. “I moved to the U.S. for the first time for college but I visited the U.S. at least every two years, since my parents are American,” Mr. Bratcher said.
They each hold a bachelors in theater. Mr. Bratcher also earned his M.B.A. from Abilene Christian University, from which Ms. Lee is currently pursuing an M.B.A. degree online.
The couple was long distance for two and a half years once Mr. Bratcher graduated: He lived for periods in New York, Germany, and Dallas; she lived in Abilene, Oxford, England, and New York. Finally, in the summer of 2017, Ms. Lee moved to Dallas, where Mr. Bratcher had been living since 2015.
Ms. Lee is now an administrative coordinator for the investment sales team at SHOP Companies, and Mr. Bratcher is a salesforce consultant at Internet Creations. They are also both professional theater artists in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex — she an actor, dancer and choreographer; and he an actor, fight choreographer and voice over artist.
The proposal took place on July 3, 2020. It was supposed to be in Rome, but the pandemic ruined that idea. Instead, Mr. Bratcher began scouting locations on bicycle rides around White Rock Lake in Dallas.
He chose Winfrey Point, where he then recreated their first date, complete with hand-dipped chocolate-covered strawberries. Mr. Bratcher put on a curated playlist. “He had a Google Photos book called ‘Our Story,’ and it had every favorite photo of our seven-year relationship,” Ms. Lee said. When Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” played, Mr. Bratcher proposed.
The couple were wed on Aug. 28 in Azle, Texas, at Stoney Ridge Villa, a Spanish inspired event space in the middle of Parker County. “We were shocked and amazed that this gorgeous place exists there,” Ms. Lee said.
180 guests attended, including some of Mr. Bratcher’s immediate family, who flew in from Germany.
The couple encouraged people to get vaccinated and get tested and asked everyone to wear masks regardless of vaccination status. The ceremony and the dancing were outdoors on a balcony.
The couple committed to making the event as eco-friendly as possible. “Our parents went above and beyond. We even had compostable cups for the margaritas and Bamboo plates for the rehearsal dinner,” Ms. Lee said.
The two are especially grateful to Ms. Lee’s mother, Pebbles Lee. “She did all the decorating and all the catering herself and hired some friends. She bought some pies, made the cake, designed Victoria’s dress and made it. She did everything,” Mr. Bratcher said.
As a surprise for Mr. Bratcher, “Victoria did some of her vows in German. She knows how much that means to me,” said Mr. Bratcher, whose younger sister, Lara Bratcher, helped Ms. Lee make that happen.
Pastor Joel Triska, formerly of the Life in Deep Ellum church, officiated.
The seated dinner was “modeled after Thanksgiving which was fine with us,” Mr. Bratcher said. Enhancing the night’s drama, he added, “We had an exit from the dinner to the dance floor with sparklers. The whole night, the energy was euphoric.”