When it comes to asking for wedding gifts, there is more than one route couples can take. Everyone knows of traditional wedding registries and most are familiar with honeymoon registries. But, have you heard of the registry that gives back? Enter charity wedding registries.
What Is a Charity Wedding Registry?
A charity wedding registry is a type of registry where couples asks guests to donate to a specific organization rather than purchase tangible gifts.
Not only is a charity wedding registry the perfect gift-giving solution for couples who already own the standard newlywed items, but it is also a wonderful way to kick off your union on a high note. "We simply believe starting your marriage off with the ritual of generosity is a good thing," explains Beth Helmstetter, founder of The Good Beginning, a charity registry platform that streamlines the giving process for couples and guests. "It's also a great way to make a bigger impact than the couple could do on their own but pooling resources of their guests...[and] a great resource to consider if the couple feels they already have all they need but know their guests will still want to give a gift in some way."
Meet the Expert
Beth Helmstetter is the founder of eponymous event planning company Beth Helmstetter Events. Based in California, the seasoned wedding planner is also the founder of The Good Beginning, a charitable wedding registry service.
A new kind of wedding gift, charity wedding registries have seen increasing popularity in recent years and The Good Beginning's statistics prove it. Since its inception, the platform saw a few dozen registries grow to about 1000 in 2020. Helmstetter adds, "The couples who work with The Good Beginning love the idea of doing something good with their wedding day and are the type of individuals that believe generosity is needed now more than ever. While some raise modest amounts of money and others bring in tens of thousands of dollars, overall every couple is excited to see their guests come together to make an impact."
Ahead, see all the details of how to create a charity registry for your wedding.
Benefits of Charity Registries
The beauty of a charity registry, as Helmstetter explains, "is it isn't an all or nothing decision." Still hoping to stock your newlywed home with a china set or the latest the kitchen appliance? Create a traditional registry and a charitable one to satisfy your wishlist and support the community simultaneously. "Adding a charitable registry option is just another way to give guests choices in the sort of gift they give the couple," she says. "[The couple] will get a set of towels as a tangible gift, but guests are so moved by the charitable option that they will make a modest donation as well."
How to Choose a Charity
As Helmstetter reveals, the most successful registries align with organizations that are meaningful to the couple. "If a parent fought heart disease or breast cancer, it might be an obvious decision to consider organizations who support these causes. Or, perhaps they regularly volunteer at a local shelter or feel very driven to fight social injustices in the world," she says. "Finding an organization that the couple is connected to be it through experience or simply passion is a great place to start."
Where to Register
While you can work directly with a non-profit to set up a fund where guests can donate, there are also a few websites that make the process even more simple. The Good Beginning is an online registry that allows couples to research, choose, and embed a link requesting donations for a variety of local, national, and international charities that support everything from human rights to animal welfare to faith-based initiatives right onto their wedding website. If you want to pair your charity registry alongside a regular one, websites like Joy and Zola offer the ability to easily set up a donation fund to send directly to charitable organizations.
If you don't want to set things up digitally, you can ask within your wedding website or invitations for guests to bring checks written out to your organization of choice to the reception. Place a nicely decorated box on a table that guests can drop their donations before they take their seats.