For couples looking to do something a little different with their gift registry, The Good Beginning is the perfect choice. Charitable gifting is made easy in the form of an online donation registry, which allows guests to give monetary gifts to a couple’s charity of choice. WedLuxe spoke exclusively with Beth Helmstetter for the February Trend Report about what inspired her to create The Good Beginning, what charities are doing great work in the world and how to have a more socially and environmentally-conscious wedding celebration.
Tell us about The Good Beginning. What is it all about?
The Good Beginning is an online charitable donation registry where couples can register for gifts to their favorite charitable organization in lieu of or in addition to a traditional gift registry.
You are a successful wedding and events designer. How did you come up with the idea for The Good Beginning?
I have an MBA with a focus on nonprofit administration and prior to the wedding industry actually worked in the nonprofit world for several years. With this being said, giving back is a big priority in my life, personally, and I’ve always wanted to find a way to tie both of my passions together. Throughout my years as an event designer and planner, many of my couples have requested gifts to nonprofit organizations instead of traditional wedding gifts, but it’s always been a logistical challenge to set up directly with organizations. After several times of trying to streamline this process, I realized there must be a better way, hence The Good Beginning.
How does the donation process work? What percentage of donations is passed on to the cause?
Couples register for their wedding just like at Bloomingdales, Target, etc. They set up the registry, look through the organizations we’ve already pre-selected or can add different charities if they aren’t on the site yet. From there, the couple is given a personal domain name to their registry that can be passed on to guests individually or embedded into their wedding website or wedding app. Guests can then link straight to the couple’s registry or come to www.thegoodbeginning.com and search by the couple’s name. From there they make their donation and we handle the process of tracking all gifts and distributing funds as the couple and guest has allocated. Over 90% of every gift goes to the organization with the remaining funds going towards our staffing and administrative expenses.
What has the response been like from brides and grooms?
It’s been amazing so far. Several of my personal couples are using the site and they’ve loved how easy and beautiful the interface is. We have a handful of high profile couples that will be using the platform in the upcoming months that I can’t wait to brag about when the time is right.
Your site also offers wedding design and bridal fashion inspiration that come from a socially and environmentally conscious place. Can you give our readers some tips for how they can plan a more conscious wedding celebration or honeymoon?
Being socially conscious for the most part is about doing the research on where products come from, how they are made and the philosophies of the companies behind the products and services they use for the wedding day. I personally am loving discovering things like great welcome bag options for sources like Local and Lejos that feed a family out of Mexico for a week, or non traditional but wedding-worthy gowns from designers like Elizabeth Suzann. Bow Ties for the guys from Rock Avenue provide college scholarships to at risk youth and so much more. Of course, there’s always the option of making donations to charity in lieu of wedding favours, but I also think tangible favours are so meaningful and impactful as well.
What is inspiring you this month?
I’m so inspired by the work of Haute Hope, one of our contributors to The Good Beginning. This is a company that creates gifting for all occasions (including Valentine’s Day). Not only are their boxes absolutely stunning, but inside are gifts from all of the world that give back. Think pendants that pay a teacher’s salary for 6 months in Ethiopia, or a basket that covers health insurance for one year in Rwanda. Every item in her gifts are intentional and make the world a better place. They are the perfect option for anyone who loves design and also giving back.
What is next for The Good Beginning?
We are currently trying to create awareness of our registry for not only the couple that has everything, but also for the couple that realizes that they have enough. My vision is not that this will only become a thing that is occasionally used, but something that becomes a norm for every couple registering. I believe The Good Beginning is great fit for both the couple that wants no gifts, as well as for the couple that still needs a house full of items but also wants to draw awareness and support to their favourite charity.
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