Planning a wedding is, by nature, a hellishly arduous task. White Castle would like to change that.
Earlier this month, the company announced its first-ever White Castle Royal Wedding Contest. Victory promises a “royal wedding” held at the chain’s location on the Vegas strip, followed by five nights in Brussels topped with a stay in an actual Belgian castle.
The company will foot the bill for the wedding ceremony, cake, flowers, reception, décor, music, and a professional photographer, along with a White Castle-exclusive menu. The honeymoon covers round-trip airfare, ground transportation, and three nights’ hotel accommodation for the couple and six of their guests.
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The competition’s open to residents of the 48 contiguous states plus Washington, D.C.; hopefuls must be at least 21 years old. (Though I'd hope this goes without saying, they must also be engaged.) The contest accepts entries until July 31st. If you don’t win, don’t sweat it; the company has also reserved two runner-up spots, and they'll win a hefty package of White Castle menu items and non-alcoholic refreshments for over 200 people at their wedding reception.
The chain’s gimmick, not entirely unlike a similar push by Taco Bell earlier this year, was in response to the tiny, but fertile, cottage industry of White Castle wedding-goers the company had noticed across the country. The company cites 75 couples who’ve exchanged vows in locations in the past decade, though the real number may be larger than we know. The chain thus demands that entrants must convey, in their applications, how White Castle and its square burgers play a starring role in a couple’s courtship.
Entrants are taken to a portal through which you’re give four essay prompts that the company refers to as "retorts." Queries range from the hypothetical (If your courtship were a slider, what kind of slider would it be, and why?) to the more sentimental (What is your dearest memory you share at White Castle?). You’re asked to submit two to three photographs of you and your beau alongside your answers. Afterwards, you'll be judged along a four-pronged rubric: loyalty to the brand, creative presentation of your narrative, the uniqueness and idiosyncrasy of your submission, and the “extent and magnitude" of your "boldness."
These are some tall orders, and I've got no doubt competition will be thick. If you’re hard-pressed to find inspiration for your application, or don't quite know how to articulate how much this burger chain could possibly mean to a pair of beloveds, well, we’ve got some ideas for where to start.
Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.