It’s that time of year again when Crate & Barrel is hosting its competitive "Ultimate Wedding" contest. In order to participate, engaged couples submit an online entry describing their love story, their ideal wedding, and their dream home.
After that, they can campaign and market their submission however they like, and it is up to friends, family, and fans to vote for the couple of their choice.
The 100 entries which garner the most votes will move into the ‘Final Round’ where judges will take the next steps and determine which couples receive the top prizes. The ‘Grand Prize’ winning couple will receive a $100,000 budget to spend on their wedding, as well as the expertise of celebrity wedding planner Yifat Oren.
Crate & Barrel is unique for its inclusivity, giving both straight and LGBT couples the chance to make their ‘Ultimate Wedding’ dreams a reality. “The term ‘lawfully married’ also includes couples who intend to unite in a commitment ceremony; ‘wedding’ includes commitment ceremony; and ‘bridal registry’ includes commitment registry,” the official rules clarify.
Fiancés Robbie Cronrod and Allen Artcliff from Los Angeles have consistently been in the #2 spot in the past few days, and just pulled into first place with more than 3,255 votes as of this posting. The couple met online, and Robbie shares their love story on the Ultimate Wedding website:
“I saw Allen’s profile many times over the years but was still struggling with my sexuality…By finding Allen I found myself, my friends and family found the real me, and we found true love.”
Robbie and Allen describe their ideal wedding style as sustainable, modern and creative. They’ve created a website that tells their story, called “Love at First Wink,” and note that they decided to join the contest in order to draw attention to the importance of marriage for gay and lesbian couples. “We want what all Americans want: the right to marry and have it recognized as marriage. That’s marriage equality,” they state.
Another couple, Megan Younkman and Lauren Campisi of Tampa, Florida, are hoping for a destination wedding in the Caribbean. They have fewer votes than Robbie and Allen, but their romance is just as powerful. They write:
“Together, we view ourselves as a perfect whole, each describing the other as our better half…Our love is truly forever.”
The blogs “Lez Get Real” and “Pink Banana World” have both already highlighted their story. Lauren also writes her own blog on LGBT issues, including a post where she recalls the special anniversary trip where Megan proposed to her.
GLAAD featured the Crate & Barrel Ultimate Wedding contest last year, where husbands-to-be Jonathan Howard and Gregory Jones ultimately took home second place. Couples this year have until March 31 to enter their submissions, and voters have until April 30 to choose their favorites. The grand prize winners will be announced in June. GLAAD will regularly provide updates to the contest until then. We encourage readers to vote, spread the word, and submit their own stories!