Meet the Couple Who Just Won an All-Expense Paid Dream Wedding at Taco Bell
When Taco Bell announced that their flagship Cantina location in Las Vegas would soon house a wedding chapel, shameless fast food fanatics got a newly-invigorated belief in love. Two such people were Dan Ryckert, a New York City-based writer and podcast host, and his fiancée, Bianca.
The pair was one of over 150 couples to enter the Tex Mex chain’s contest to win an all-expense paid trip to be the first to get married there, recording a 30-second video to make their plea. On Wednesday, Taco Bell announced them as the winners—beating out a woman who crafted a wedding dress made entirely of burrito wrappers.
“I had to try pretty hard not to lose it,” Ryckert tells PEOPLE of learning the news while in line for the King Kong ride at Universal Orlando. “I wanted to win this thing so bad, but I assumed that I wasn’t the winner since it had been a while and I hadn’t heard anything.”
As for his fiancée’s reaction, he describes it as a combination of “laughter and disbelief,” followed by calling her parents to tell them the big news. “It was a real ‘holy crap, this is really happening’ moment.”
The couple met online in San Francisco a little over two years ago, and a mutual love of Taco Bell sparked an instant bond. “It was actually one of the first conversations we ever had,” says Ryckert. “She told me that she’d pick Taco Bell over a fancy Mexican place any day of the week, and I knew then that we were going to be a great fit.”
For Ryckert, this affinity for fast food is something he came about honestly. “When I grew up, [my father] would always talk about how people that went to fancy restaurants and drank wine or whatever were just putting on airs and trying to appear sophisticated. My grandpa was the same way,” he says. “As a result, I ate fast food constantly. Even once I got older and learned that there actually is some value in nice restaurants, I always preferred the taste and value of fast food. I could put on a collared shirt and eat a nice steak for $80, or I could walk into Taco Bell in a t-shirt and jeans, spend $9, and eat food that I like a whole lot more.”
These are the types of experiences outlined in his memoir, The Dumbest Kid in Gifted Class, and his dietary preferences have become a major component of his personal brand. “Our listeners know that I take any chance I can get to evangelize Taco Bell,” he says in reference to his video game podcast, The Giant Beastcast. In a stunt last year, he ordered every item on the menu at once, and he and Bianca even spent his 32nd birthday dinner at a Pacifica, California location.
WATCH: We Tried Every Item on the Taco Bell $1 Breakfast Menu
And though they had put their wedding plans on halt in hopes of winning the contest, the pair had just about given up by the time they got the news. “Hours before I heard that we had won, Bianca emailed me and said ‘Well, since we’re obviously not winning the Taco Bell wedding, let’s make some other plans,'” Ryckert explains, saying their backup was an April wedding in New Orleans following WrestleMania.
Now, they’ll be having a small ceremony of less than a dozen in Las Vegas, complete with a hot sauce bouquet and a wedding cake made out of Cinnabon Delights. The standard $600 package includes a taco 12-pack for your first meal as a married couple, but for the Ryckerts they’re going the extra mile. “They’re catering everything,” he says. “We’re gonna be getting quesadillas, Cheesy Gordita Crunches, these awesome-looking cheesy jalapeno dipper things, and plenty more.”
If Dan and Bianca’s story has inspired you to ditch those DIY mason jars on your wedding Pinterest board in favor of a 32-oz. Mountain Dew Code Red, you too can have your dream Taco Bell nuptials in Las Vegas starting this summer. Like the Ryckerts, you’ll just have to find someone who shares your hopes and dreams first.