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.

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.

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Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986. She is the editor in charge of such consumer topics as travel, fitness, health, finance, and beauty, as well as the editor who handles such cover stories as Great Places to Work, Best of Washington, Day Trips, Hidden Gems, Bikes and Hikes, Fairs and Festivals, Great Small Towns, and the Washington Bucket List. She lives in Arlington.