Florida couple tries to host wedding at stranger's $5.7m mansion thinking it was empty – but owner shows up & calls cops

A FLORIDA couple tried to host their dream wedding at a mansion on the market for years thinking it would be empty for their wedding day – until the owner showed up and called the cops on them.

Nathan Finkel, the owner of a sprawling 16,313-square-foot mansion in Southwest Ranches, showed up to his house one day to find groom Courtney Wilson and another person on his property setting up for Wilson's wedding.


To Finkel's surprise, Wilson claimed it was "God's message" that he and his bride Shenita Jones were to hold their wedding there. An unimpressed Finkel called the cops to get them off his property.

"I have people trespassing on my property," Finkel told a 911 dispatcher. "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," he said in the Saturday morning call.

When police showed up, they told Wilson to leave but did not charge him with a crime, according to the Sun-Sentinel.


"I don’t want to talk about it," Wilson said when reached for comment by the newspaper.

Instead, his online invitation does all the talking.

Referring to himself and his bride as "the Royal Couple," Wilson and Jones' wedding invitation included an exclusive invite to "our dream home and estate" that they called "the Wilson estate."

Trouble is, the 16,000-plus square-foot home, complete with 15 bathrooms, nine bedrooms, a bowling alley, a theater and an 800-square-foot bar, was listed for sale by Finkel at the price of $5.7 million.

Finkel, the son of IHOP franchisee Abe Finkel, has listed the home for sale in 2019. The house sits on 7.5 acres of land and includes, in addition to the above, an elevator, four fireplaces, three offices, a library, staff quarters, two ponds, a lighted tennis court, a gazebo with barbecue and a resort-style pool with a waterfall, slide, hot tub and deck.

Wilson apparently even checked out the mansion several times in the weeks preceding his wedding, taking photos and claiming he wanted to purchase it, said Town Attorney Keith Poliakoff, who spoke on Finkel's behalf.

"A few months later this guy asked Nathan if he could use Nathan’s backyard for his wedding," Poliakoff said. "Nathan said no."


Ignoring Nathan's no, Jones and Wilson sent out the invitation regardless, sharing their story of how they met in high school and reconnected three decades later, which they owed to fate and divine intervention.

"It was then the Lord had revealed to me the purpose of our encounter and answer to my prayer," Jones wrote of Wilson's proposal to her on Christmas Eve.

Wilson and Jones' wedding was supposedly going to start at 3:30PM on Saturday with a "Red Carpet Cocktail Hour" to follow immediately afterward. A planned reception was expected to last well into the night until 2:30AM.

The invitation then asked guests to return for Sunday brunch from noon to 4PM.

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

"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?"

Finkel didn't add much about the ordeal, just pointing the police response.

"They told them to get off the property and not to come back," Finkel said. “That was the end of it."

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