Take away the giant, neon Taco Bell logo in front of the bride and groom.
Take away the bride’s bouquet made of taco sauce packets.
Take away the tacos elegantly served on a silver platter, the wedding cake made of Cinnabon Delights and champagne flutes filled with the boozy Twisted Freeze drink.
What you have left is an intimate wedding between two people in love, surrounded by about a dozen family and friends, that just happened to take place at a Taco Bell.
Oh but hey, this wasn’t just any Taco Bell.
This was at the new, upscale Taco Bell Cantina in Las Vegas that has an in-house wedding chapel, tucked away on the second floor and accessed by a staircase next to the bar.
And the first couple to ever say “I do” there, in a ceremony on Sunday, happened to be Olathe native Dan Ryckert and his beloved Bianca.
Dan, a 2002 graduate of Olathe East and 2007 University of Kansas graduate, and his New Jersey-native bride won the ceremony in a contest sponsored by the fast food chain to promote the new Vegas Strip chapel, which opens to other happy couples Aug. 7.
It was the perfect setting for two people who, if put to the test, could probably name every item on the Taco Bell menu.
He loves the chicken quesadilla. She’s a fan of the Fiery Doritos Locos Taco.
Taco Bell was one of the first meals they shared together when they finally met face-to-face. They found each other online about two years ago – she was in Jersey and he was living in San Francisco – and built a relationship long-distance before they made that first run for the border together.
From their texts, “I could tell I loved her just because we played off each other so well and she had such a great sense of humor,” says Dan, one of the video game experts and podcast hosts on the website Giant Bomb. He recently published a memoir, with stories about growing up in Kansas, called “The Dumbest Kid in Gifted Class.”
He and Bianca, 25, now live in New York City.
Fans of “The Giant Beastcast” podcast who knew of Dan’s love for both Bianca and Taco Bell – in a stunt last year he spent about $90 ordering one of everything off the menu – told him about the “Love and Tacos” contest.
They couldn’t tweet him the information fast enough when it came out in February. Dan half-jokingly sent Bianca the link to the contest and asked if she wanted to enter.
She said I do.
Over dinner that night, he made sure she was all in. He figured with his love for the fast food so publicly well-known, and because he’s a whiz with videos, they might actually have a good shot at winning the darn thing.
When they got home he called Bianca’s parents for permission to enter the contest – they told them they would have a story for life if they won – and then they recorded their 30-second video entry.
They sent it right in, right then on Valentine’s Day.
Taco Bell had said the winners would be announced on March 16, which came and went with Dan and Bianca stalking cyberspace for word. Every day that passed with no news convinced them they hadn’t won.
Then came the first week of April. Dan was at WrestleMania at Universal Orlando. Bianca had just that morning emailed him to suggest they think about alternative wedding plans since clearly they hadn’t won the whole burrito.
Later that day, Taco Ball tweeted at Dan.
Hey Dan, what’s your email address?
Then later, while he was standing in line during a rain delay at the King Kong ride, came the good news in an email.
Their video won out of more than 150 others submitted.
They beat the bride-to-be who made a wedding dress out of burrito wrappers.
People magazine profiled them.
Taco Bell planned their Instagram-perfect wedding. Dan and Bianca, though, chose their own wardrobe, the playlist for the D.J. and named their favorite Taco Bell foods, which were served to them on that silver platter.
The newlyweds are planning a more traditional wedding reception later this summer where more stories are sure to be told.
Because sometimes, what happens in Vegas shouldn’t stay in Vegas.