News & Politics

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.

Editor in chief

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986 as an editorial intern, and worked her way to the top of the masthead when she was named editor-in-chief in 2022. She oversees the magazine’s editorial staff, and guides the magazine’s stories and direction. She lives in DC.