Brazen couple try to throw wedding at $5.7M mansion believing it was vacant – owner turns them away

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A brazen Florida couple tried to throw a lavish wedding at a mansion, believing it was vacant and even telling guests it was their own home, only to turn up and be confronted by the confused owner who called 911. 

Shenita Jones and Courtney Wilson planned to tie the knot at the $5.7 million estate with 7.2 acres of sprawling land in Southwest Ranches, Florida, currently owned by an heir to the IHOP restaurant franchise empire, according to the Sun Sentinel. 

Wilson had posed as a prospective buyer to visit the home several times in the weeks leading up to the nuptials and a detailed wedding website invited their guests to join them for a lavish ceremony at what they claimed was ‘our dream home and Estate.’ 

But, the couple had not hired the property – let alone bought it – and the real owner Nathan Finkel knew nothing of the plan until Wilson showed up on the morning of the big day.

A 911 call on April 17 revealed a baffled Finkel telling the dispatcher people were ‘trespassing’ on his property and had told him it was ‘God’s message’ that they should be wed at his home.   

A brazen Florida couple (pictured Shenita Jones and Courtney Wilson) invited guests to their wedding at a vacant mansion they hadn't hired, only to turn up for the ceremony and be confronted by the confused owner who called 911

A brazen Florida couple (pictured Shenita Jones and Courtney Wilson) invited guests to their wedding at a vacant mansion they hadn’t hired, only to turn up for the ceremony and be confronted by the confused owner who called 911

The couple planned to tie the knot at a $5.7 million estate with 7.2 acres of sprawling land in Southwest Ranches, Florida, (above) that is currently owned by an heir to the IHOP restaurant franchise empire

The couple planned to tie the knot at a $5.7 million estate with 7.2 acres of sprawling land in Southwest Ranches, Florida, (above) that is currently owned by an heir to the IHOP restaurant franchise empire

The bizarre incident began some weeks ago when Wilson started making multiple visits to the mansion pretending he was interested in buying it, Town Attorney Keith Poliakoff told the Sentinel.

The home, featuring a 16,313-square-foot home nine-bed property, is on the market for $5.7 million. 

It was first listed for $7.25 million back in 2019 but the price has been slashed since. 

With its grand ballroom, two-story gentleman’s bar, movie theater, 2-lane bowling alley, pool, tennis court and dance studio, the estate makes the perfect venue for a dream wedding. 

Poliakoff said Wilson took many photos and then asked the owner if he could use the property as his wedding venue. 

Finkel said no to the request, Poliakoff said. 

But the couple appear to have ignored his response, with their elaborate wedding website detailing their lavish nuptials at the home. 

The bride and groom planned their wedding for 3:30 pm on April 17 at the property at 5550 Hancock Road.

In the invite, the couple claim it is their property, describing it as ‘our home’ and even renaming it ‘The Wilson’s Estate’. 

The bride and groom invited guests to join them for a lavish ceremony at the property, claiming it was their home and even renaming it 'The Wilson's Estate'

The bride and groom invited guests to join them for a lavish ceremony at the property, claiming it was their home and even renaming it ‘The Wilson’s Estate’

They planned their wedding for 3:30 pm on April 17 at the property at 5550 Hancock Road which they described as 'our dream home and Estate'

They planned their wedding for 3:30 pm on April 17 at the property at 5550 Hancock Road which they described as ‘our dream home and Estate’

Jones and Wilson also invited their guests to return to 'our home' the next day for a 'wonderful Sunday brunch' featuring 'delicacies from our renowned chef on our resort style pool, while being entertained by the sounds of a live Jazz band'

Jones and Wilson also invited their guests to return to ‘our home’ the next day for a ‘wonderful Sunday brunch’ featuring ‘delicacies from our renowned chef on our resort style pool, while being entertained by the sounds of a live Jazz band’

The ceremony was to be followed by a ‘Red carpet cocktail hour’ and a reception that would continue into the night, ending at 2:30 am. 

‘It is our honor to welcome you into our dream home and Estate, to share this special occasion with us,’ the website reads.

We are excited to celebrate our wedding night with you and look forward to a wonderful evening of celebration, exquisite feast and dancing. At our Royal Extravaganza!’

Jones and Wilson also invited their guests to return to ‘our home’ the next day for a ‘wonderful Sunday brunch’ featuring ‘delicacies from our renowned chef on our resort style pool, while being entertained by the sounds of a live Jazz band.’

But the wedding day didn’t quite go as planned, as Wilson turned up on the morning with another person to find the real owner home.  

Finkel called the police to report people trespassing and telling him that it was ‘God’s message’ that they should hold their wedding on his property. 

Wilson had posed as a prospective buyer to visit the home several times in the weeks leading up to the nuptials

Wilson had posed as a prospective buyer to visit the home several times in the weeks leading up to the nuptials

The couple had not hired the property - let alone bought it - and the real owner Nathan Finkel knew nothing of the plan until Wilson showed up on the morning of the big day

The couple had not hired the property – let alone bought it – and the real owner Nathan Finkel knew nothing of the plan until Wilson showed up on the morning of the big day

Jones' engagement ring seen in a photo on their wedding website after Wilson proposed Christmas Eve

Jones’ engagement ring seen in a photo on their wedding website after Wilson proposed Christmas Eve 

‘I have people trespassing on my property,’ Finkel said in the 911 call. 

‘And they keep harassing me, calling me. They say they’re having a wedding here and it’s God’s message. I don’t know what’s going on.  

‘All I want is [for] it to stop. And they’re sitting at my property right at the front gate right now.’  

Two officers responded to the scene and told Wilson to leave ‘and not to come back,’ Finkel told the Sentinel.

No charges were brought against the couple. 

Wilson did not want to talk about the failed wedding day when approached by the Sentinel.  

‘I don’t want to talk about it,’ he said. 

Poliakoff told the Sentinel it must have come as a ‘shock’ to Wilson to bump into Finkel. 

The home (above), featuring a 16,313-square-foot home nine-bed property, is on the market for $5.7 million

The home (above), featuring a 16,313-square-foot home nine-bed property, is on the market for $5.7 million

With its grand ballroom, two-story gentleman's bar, movie theater, 2-lane bowling alley, pool, tennis court and dance studio, the estate makes the perfect venue for a dream wedding

With its grand ballroom, two-story gentleman’s bar, movie theater, 2-lane bowling alley, pool, tennis court and dance studio, the estate makes the perfect venue for a dream wedding

It was first listed for $7.25 million back in 2019 but the price has been slashed since

It was first listed for $7.25 million back in 2019 but the price has been slashed since

‘The guy figured it was a vacant house and didn’t realize Nathan lived on the property in a different home,’ he said. 

‘This guy had no idea he lived there. You know the shock that must have been on his face when he showed up at the gate and the owner was home?’ 

It is not clear if the couple has planned a new venue to get married in – this time one that they either own or have hired.  

The couple also share their love story on the website, regaling the tale of how they ‘discovered love in a pandemic’ and referring to themselves as ‘the Royal couple.’

They met in high school where they were both student athletes, graduating from the same class, they wrote. 

While Jones was ‘very focused’ and had dreams of getting a basketball scholarship, Wilson was a ‘bad boy’ football player and the two lost touch.

The couple also share their love story on the wedding website, regaling the tale of how they 'discovered love in a pandemic' and referring to themselves as 'the Royal couple'

The couple also share their love story on the wedding website, regaling the tale of how they ‘discovered love in a pandemic’ and referring to themselves as ‘the Royal couple’

They met in high school where they were both student athletes, graduating from the same class

Then, 30 years' later, 'fate' and 'and the Lord's plan' brought them back together, they said

They met in high school where they were both student athletes, graduating from the same class. Then, 30 years’ later, ‘fate’ and ‘and the Lord’s plan’ brought them back together, they said

The wedding registry on the couple's website where they revealed the details of the big day

The wedding registry on the couple’s website where they revealed the details of the big day

But, 30 years’ later, ‘fate’ and ‘and the Lord’s plan’ brought them back together, they said. 

‘Never the less, as fate would have it, We were divinely reconnected after 30 yrs. I had just ended a 5 yrs relationship and he, a 20 year marriage,’ they said.

Their relationship developed throughout the pandemic, culminating in Wilson proposing to Jones on Christmas Eve.

‘He took me and the children out riding to see Christmas lights when we stopped for pizza at Al Capones on Hollywood Beach,’ the website read.

‘He asked me to take a photo with him while he was secretly planning to propose in the snapshot.’

The couple said it ‘was then the Lord had revealed to me the purpose of our encounter and answer to my prayer’.

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