From their first date until their (first) wedding reception, the glorious Taco Bell Cantina in Pacifica has been there for every step of Sheel Mohnot and Amruta Godbole’s love story.
The SF-based couple recently tied the knot in an online ceremony and an in-person reception thrown by the fast food company, after Mohnot and Godbole beat 300 others out to win the “Taco Bell Metaverse Wedding Contest.”
You heard that right. The lovebirds were legally bound in matrimony in the metaverse constructed by Taco Bell affiliates, before celebrating their nuptials at the Pacifica Cantina a day later. Mohnot even proposed with a 3D-printed ring pop, and the couple sealed the deal with an NFT-memento marriage certificate.
The online wedding was emceed by author, academic and actor of Harold & Kumar fame, Kal Penn.
For those among you resisting technological modernity, the metaverse is effectively an online space or universe, where users experience aspects of the virtual and physical world combined. Think Fortnite worlds, virtual reality scenes or even Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta plans.
“One of our first dates was actually [at the Cantina], and it was a very meaningful place for us—we’ve been there a lot,” Mohnot said. “The talk about Pacifica is that it’s the most beautiful Taco Bell in the country. It’s such an iconic spot, and a lot of people in the Bay Area really like it. Everybody knows it.”
Taco Bell is no stranger to playing Cupid for its fans: Hundreds of couples tied the knot at the Las Vegas Taco Bell Cantina between 2017 and 2021—it has a full-service chapel inside the restaurant—and the Pacifica Taco Bell has already hosted a wedding or two from its idyllic seaside spot.
Not Just One Wedding
Weddings aren’t cheap, and the couple say they are grateful Taco Bell covered the all-you-could-eat menu and events at the cantina and in the metaverse—but Mohnot and Godbole are not stopping there.
“Our parents would not let us get away with just a [Taco Bell wedding],” Mohnot said. “We have like five of our own weddings this year.”
By The Standard’s count—and if you mark the Taco Bell events as separate—this iconic SF couple will have hosted six total wedding events in this year alone: A traditional wedding in India, a ceremony in Cleveland where Godbole is from, a reception in Pittsburgh where Mohnot is from, a multiday celebration in Mexico, the cantina reception and their metaverse ceremony.
But don’t you forget: “Our legal wedding is the Taco Bell wedding,” Mohnot said.
Mohnot is a venture capitalist who invests in the financial technology space, while Godbole is a lawyer for Instagram. Godbole became an internet sensation in 2018, when a partygoer captured a photo of her standing awkwardly among a throng of leather-clad gay men at the 2017 Folsom Street Fair.
I’m in this photo and I don’t like it. Jk. I mean that is actually me in the photo. But I like it every time. https://t.co/TMNLZTppLa— Amruta Godbole (@dj_roots) May 22, 2021
The Road to the Taco Bell Cantina Metaverse
Mohnot and Godbole beat out hundreds of other couples to secure their metaverse-cantina hybrid wedding. Though Mohnot is a proud (and vocal) fan of the food chain, Godbole went along for the meme of it all.
“I am a Taco Bell fan, and I have posted on Twitter about it enough that people would tag me in announcements about this contest,” Mohnot said. “My first instinct was honestly like, 'OK, [my partner] is never going to go for this, but let me bring it up to her.'”
The couple decided to enter the competition during their road trip to Black Rock Desert, on their way to their first Burning Man. A month after submitting their application video, the official Taco Bell Twitter page reached out to Mohnot to deliver the good news: They had won and would be officially married in the metaverse.
Here's the winning video... fortunately @tacobell was able to see past our “acting” skills into our gooey taco-loving hearts pic.twitter.com/YjLXa68Bkg— Sheel Mohnot (@pitdesi) February 22, 2023
Sounds dreamy, no?
Both self-described “yes people” down for a good time (and a boozy Baja Blast or two), the couple wedded on 3D browser platform Decentraland on Friday, Feb. 24.
“This is a real wedding with a real couple, a real officiant, in an unreal Taco Bell Metaverse venue,” Taco Bell wrote in the online wedding invitation. “At the Taco Bell Metaverse Wedding, you’ll get the chance to participate in an experience that includes a one-of-a-kind venue, unique wearables, a DJ, live dancefloor and a few tasty Taco Bell surprises.”
Mohnot said that the taco-making company allowed him and his partner to tweak the online and in-person wedding to mesh with their preferences and cultural backgrounds.
“It was a branded experience, which we knew going in,” Mohnot said. “But also, we’re Indian, and we wanted to have an Indian wedding. They made those things happen: There was an elephant, there was a mandap, which is a traditional thing you sit on in [Indian] weddings. It was really cool.”
Boozy Baja Blasts and a Cinnabon Cake
Though it wasn’t part of the initial deal, Godbole and Mohnot negotiated with the company to host a separate, in-person reception at the Pacifica Taco Bell Cantina—an iconic outpost located just feet from the ocean.
At the cantina, the SF couple gathered 130 of their friends and family members for a reception with unlimited Taco Bell catering on Feb. 25. They cut into a three-tiered Cinnabon Delight cake, ate vegetarian Doritos Locos tacos and shared more than a few boozy Baja Blasts, which the cantina is uniquely permitted to make alcoholic.
Coming up with a menu plan may not have been difficult for the couple, who say that their backgrounds as Indian Americans raised in the Midwest primed them to love Taco Bell growing up.
“We both had a fondness for Taco Bell,” Mohnot said. “It’s spicy, affordable and the best vegetarian option in terms of fast food.”
Many foodies attribute the resurrection of Taco Bell’s once-canceled Mexican pizza to enthusiasm (and a petition) from the Indian American community, and food bloggers have long marked the company as a staple of the South Asian American experience, given Taco Bell’s veg-friendly menu.
Now, Mohnot says that Taco Bell has made their wedding menu (all vegetarian) open to the public.
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Liz Lindqwister can be reached at [email protected]