Pricey Orchids Adorn NBA Star's Wedding

After a sad early loss—his mother died of cancer when he was a teen—Steve Francis has gone on to have a fairy-tale life.

By: Sherri Dalphonse

Once a star at the University of Maryland, he now earns $15 million a year playing for the NBA’s New York Knicks.

So why not have a fairy-tale wedding?

On September 9, Steve and fiancée Shelby Randolph will roll out a red carpet for 500 guests at the Mellon Auditorium on Constitution Avenue.

On the menu: filet mignon and lobster tail. Some 5,000 silk-and-pearl butterflies will be strung around the room. Most centerpieces will contain $1,000 worth of orchids.

The building’s exterior will be bathed with light; the colors will change throughout the night. The special-effects lighting inside and out will cost more than $20,000, according to Digital Lightning.

One source believes the wedding will cost more than $500,000, possibly close to $1 million. But wedding planner Patti Weiner says Francis never forgets where he came from: “He’s asking any monetary gifts be made to his mother’s foundation.” The Steve Francis Foundation’s Brenda Wilson Scholarship provides college funds to Houston high-school students.

Those cash gifts could be substantial. Though Weiner couldn’t name the “heavy hitters” on the guest list, VIPs will be treated to a special lounge done up like the Shore Club in South Beach.