The focus on thrifting and borrowing also helped the Cliftons keep their wedding budget small.
Jess’s parents offered her $10,000 for the wedding when she got engaged. They also said she could keep whatever money she didn’t spend on the wedding.
While the average cost of a wedding in Arkansas was $17,200 as of February 2022, according to The Knot, as Jess planned the wedding, she decided she wanted to stick to a $5,000 budget.
She told Insider that she disliked the waste and commercialization of weddings, and she wanted to use the money for the early months of her marriage.
As she continued planning, Jess decided she also wanted to show others it was possible to have a low-waste wedding on a budget.
“People act like sustainability is very inaccessible,” she said, noting that some people think you have to buy products specifically designed to be sustainable to decrease waste. “I wanted to show that it can be insanely accessible because a $5,000 wedding is way cheaper than any wedding I’ve ever been to.”
Jess said that sharing details about her wedding online showed people they can prioritize sustainability with their wedding no matter their budget.
“I was so happy that the wedding was so affordable because I think that’s why it resonates with so many people,” she told Insider.