Beth Helmstetter, wedding planning extraordinaire and Equally Wed preferred equality-minded wedding vendor, recently launched The Good Beginning, which connects couples getting married with charitable organizations that they can select for their wedding registry. We caught up with the Los Angeles-based full-service wedding planner to learn more about her fantastic new company.
Equally Wed: How did you come up with this idea? What was your inspiration?
Beth Helmstetter: Giving back is part of my personal life and in doing so, I’ve always wanted to find a way to bring awareness to many of the great organizations I’ve worked with both within the industry and in front of my clients. In addition, several of my couples in the past have chosen to request donations to their favorite charities in lieu of gifts but have found the process relatively challenging. Many organizations are small by nature and do not have a system in place to accept small donations while attributing them to a specific group of people making identifying which guests gave a bit of a process. The Good Beginning streamlines this process making it very easy for the couple, their guests and the organizations.
One ceramic plate sold by this artisan feeds her family for a week. Read more on The Good Beginning about the craft of handmade ceramics and the impact one plate can make.
Are you working with specific charities already?
We have a list of 100 charities we’ve started with but are adding more daily. In addition, we have several contributors including photographers and other industry professionals submitting organizations that they either personally support or have been involved with in some way. Also, anyone visiting the site can add an organization at any time.
What are your criteria for new charities to join?
We welcome all charitable organizations in good standing.
What if a couple has a charity they are interested in that you don’t have?
There is a form on every page of the site that allows couples or any visitors to add a charity.
Should a couple who wants some of the traditional gifts, such as a KitchenAid mixer and super soft sheets, still register at Good Beginnings as well? Why?
I definitely think this is a good option for all couples, even if they do still want traditional wedding gifts. Not only does it start the ritual of giving off with the beginning of their marriage, but it’s the perfect time to draw awareness to organizations that are near and dear to the couple’s heart. In most cases, guests will purchase both the super soft sheets and make a small donation to show their support.
Is this open to all couples, regardless of sexual orientation? Meaning, is your site set up for two brides or two grooms?
This site is set up for all couples interested in starting the ritual of giving in their marriage.
What’s been the reaction to your project so far?
So good. With so many couples entering into their marriage with a full home of items already, this is a much needed avenue for requesting gifts that all of us have come across. And while the wedding industry is so beautiful, it is one of what many would consider frivolous. Because of this, I’ve had so much support from everyone in the industry in getting this project in front of real couples.
What do you hope to achieve with The Good Beginning?
Raising awareness and millions and millions of dollars for the organizations around the world that are changing lives.
Visit thegoodbeginning.com to learn more.