This Hot Pink Wedding Transformed the Horticulture Center into Barbie Land

The couple’s “flower dog,” Ellie, stole the show.

barbiecore wedding

Jessica Monkoski and Jeremy Cress with dog Ellie at their Barbiecore wedding / Photography by Pat Robinson Photography

The best weddings are those that so uniquely and specifically tell the story of the couple: their favorite songs, their pets, their shared quirks and loves and joy. And the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center wedding of Jessica Monkoski and Jeremy Cress, photographed by Pat Robinson Photography and described by the couple as “Barbie glam meets classy greenhouse piano bar,” did just that — in rose-colored glasses, no less.

Jessica and Jeremy met at Penn when they were volunteering with different organizations handing out flyers on Locust Walk. A mutual friend — and eventual bridesmaid of Jessica — introduced the pair, who met up again at a party and spent the whole night talking. Jeremy loved Jessica’s sense of humor, and they quickly learned that they shared similar taste in music (a theme that would play out on their Big Day). By the end of the night, Jeremy asked Jessica for a date, and the rest is history.


On that first date — at Pizzeria Stella — Jessica and Jeremy both happened to wear red. The unplanned matching outfits led to the waiter asking them if they were there to watch the Phillies game: “We were a little embarrassed … but had an awesome time,” recalls Jessica. “And red eventually became part of our wedding palette, so it now feels like a sentimental detail in hindsight.”


The couple dated for 10 years before getting engaged, and then had to wait another year and a half (post-pandemic weddings booked up fast). But when their moment finally arrived, it was well worth the wait — and came complete with a hot pink, red and gold color scheme that gave the Barbie movie a run for its money.

barbiecore bridesmaids

“I was definitely a big Barbie fan as a child,” Jessica tells us. So, her bridesmaids wore an array of styles — all in pink — from labels ranging from Badgley Mischka to Lulus. “The dresses came out so well as a group, and it was so fun to see hot pink throughout the dance floor to brighten everything up,” she says. The bridesmaids carried bouquets of boronia and pink sweet pea flowers to lean into the Barbiecore aesthetic even more. Jessica’s bouquet consisted mostly of peonies and roses in pink and red, with some anemones, pink and gold zinnias, pink ranunculus, boronia and pink lisianthus. For some coordinating Ken-ergy, the groomsmen wore pink and red Vineyard Vines ties.

Jessica’s favorite color was also carried through in the wedding decor. The arrangements were pink and red with roses, peonies, anemones, ranunculus, hydrangea, carnations, zinnias, pink sweat pea flowers, lisianthus, and hot pink boronia.

Jessica created the signage herself, using her Cricut. They DIY’d pink neon arches for the ceremony and reception, and incorporated pink neon lights throughout, including one behind the sweetheart table with lyrics from their first-dance song, “Naïve Melody.” (They opted for the Lumineers’ cover.) And guests were given personalized pink heart-shaped sunglasses as escort cards to add a whimsical pop of the signature color to their looks.

If that’s not enough, attendees were also greeted with Philly soft pretzels and Tastykakes as a nod to Jessica’s hometown, and crab-flavored chips to tie in Jeremy’s Baltimore roots.

Oh, wait. We almost forgot one very adorable aspect of the wedding: Ellie, the couple’s black lab/Australian cattle dog, as flower girl! When the couple toured the venue, they learned that it was dog-friendly, so they planned for their five-year-old rescue to be part of the festivities. Belovely designed a flower crown for Ellie to wear around her neck with the same boronia flowers featured in the rest of the arrangements. “She was so excited to see everyone and was looking all around as she walked down the aisle,” says Jessica. The cutest part? When the officiant asked the guests to “please sit,” Ellie also sat.

Ellie was also featured on drink stirrers and in cardboard-cutout form with her furry sibling, Mac the cat. “Mac is equally as loved, although would not have enjoyed the experience as much,” the bride tells us. “I feel like there are so many wedding details you can include in your day and I also feel like I considered every single one I saw on social media, but ultimately those details felt like the most ‘us.’” By the end of the night, the couple’s friends brought those cutouts onto the dance floor to include the beloved pets in the festivities.


The ceremony and cocktail reception featured a string quartet playing the couple’s favorite artists, from Lady Gaga to Neil Young. And in an especially touching moment, the quartet played “For Good” from Wicked in honor of Jessica’s mother, who passed away in 2016 and who shared her love of the play with her daughter. Jessica also pinned a photo charm of her mother to her bouquet.


Things really picked up at the reception, where the Philly Keys (the couple discovered them at the now-closed Center City piano bar, Duel) transformed the night into a joyful singalong. And the group spontaneously followed the wedding toasts with a rendition of “Dayman” from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, as two of three toasts mentioned the couple’s love for that show. “Everyone had a great time singing along, just as we hoped they would,” Jessica says. “We both love music, and had been talking about songs we wanted to hear at our wedding long before we were engaged. Seeing everything come together and everyone have such a good time was the best reward.”

And after a long night of dancing and piano-bar-style singalongs, the guests left with some late-night cheesesteaks and tomato pie.

Ellie remains a good dog.

Photographer: Pat Robinson Photography | Venue: Fairmount Park Horticulture Center | Event Coordination: Kelly Ryan at Kelab Events & Design | Event Design: Jessica Monkoski (bride) | Florals: Belovely Floral Co. |  Catering: Constellation | Cake: Nutmeg Cake Design | Bride’s Gown: Badgley Mischka from Mari Mi Bridal | Bride’s Earrings and Wedding Band: Verstolo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Mac Duggal, Badgley Mischka, Alice & Olivia, ML Monique Lhuillier, Amanda Uprichard, More to Come (from Revolve), Lulus, Next | Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers | Groomsmen’s Attire: Michael Kors | Ties: Vineyard Vines | Hair: Alexandra Archibald from Bardot Bridal Hair | Makeup: Nina Moran from Cheekadee | Invitations: Minted | Videography: Trabbland | Music & Entertainment: Elegance String Quartet (ceremony and cocktail hour); Philly Keys (reception) | Transportation: King Limousine | Lighting: Lumos Co. | Officiant: Kevin Stavrides (friend of the couple) | Rings: Barsky Diamonds (bride’s engagement ring and groom’s wedding band) | Photo Booth: Best Philly Photobooth | Dance-Floor Rental: Bobby Morganstein Events | Furniture Rentals: Maggpie

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