They may not have walked away with the grand prize, but Gregory Jones and Jonathan Howard are thrilled with their second-place finish in the Crate & Barrel Ultimate Wedding Contest.
The Washington. D.C.-based couple were early front-runners in the race to win a $100,000 wedding and ultimately took home a $7,500 Crate & Barrel gift card.
Backed by outreach from D.C.’s gay residents, articles in The Advocate and The New York Times, and groups including the Trevor Project and The Human Rights Campaign, the two were “overwhelmed” by the outpouring of support, Jones says, and moved by some of the messages they received over the course of the contest.
“We had multiple high school students who would message us on Facebook and say that seeing us out there where we didn’t even think it was a problem to enter this contest made them feel more confident that it was OK to be gay,” Jones tells The Advocate.
He says he and Howard are extremely impressed by Crate & Barrel and that the company’s decision to open the contest to same-sex couples is a step forward in the fight for equality.
“We were thrilled. First off, that Crate & Barrel was being very inclusive by having LGBT couples included in the contest, but then they went out of their way to recognize the second-place winner,” he says. “I think it really just shows that socially things are changing here, and a company like Crate & Barrel taking a risk by picking us is huge.”
Jones says he and Howard were originally eying a fall 2010 wedding but held off on securing a location until after the winner was announced. Now, he says, if they can't secure their dream location this year, they'll likely tie the knot in April of next year ... with Crate & Barrel centerpieces on every table.