SOUTHWEST RANCHES, Fla. (AP) – Courtney Wilson and Shenita Jones invited family and friends to their “dream home and estate” for their weekend wedding celebration: Saturday’s ceremony, Sunday brunch.
There was just one problem: the couple did not own the 1,500-square-foot mansion and were not allowed to use it.
The Fort Lauderdale suburban estate had it all: a bowling alley, a pool with a waterfall, a hot tub, tennis courts, a gazebo, and a 250-foot bar. Wilson said it was God’s plan for the couple to get married there.
But despite what the invitation entailed, the actual owner, Nathan Finkel, never gave them permission to have the festivities there. He was dumbfounded when Wilson showed up Saturday morning to set himself up and called the police, according to the South Florida SunSentinel..
“I have people entering my property,” Finkel told an emergency center. And they keep bothering me by 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 to quit. And they are now on my property at the front gate. “
Two officers told Wilson he would have to leave. He did and no charges were brought.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Wilson told the newspaper.
Finkel, whose late father was an early IHOP restaurant franchisee, has been trying to sell the property for two years and is now giving it up for just over $ 5 million.
Posing as a potential buyer, Wilson toured the estate several months ago, said Keith Poliakoff, attorney for Southwest Ranches, the upscale suburb where Finkel lives.
“A few months later, this man asked Nathan if he could use Nathan’s backyard for his wedding,” Poliakoff said. “Nathan said no.”
But that didn’t stop the couple from sending elaborate invitations, detailing their love story: reconnecting 30 years after high school and how he offered pizza on Christmas Eve. The Saturday afternoon ceremony would be followed by a cocktail hour on the red carpet and a reception that would last after midnight. Sunday brunch would be from noon to 4am.
“The man thought it was an empty house and did not know that Nathan lived on the property in another house,” Poliakoff said. This man had no idea he lived there. Do you know the shock that must have been on his face when he appeared at the gate and the owner was home? “
Broward County records show that a marriage certificate was issued to the couple last week, but they had not yet been registered as married on Wednesday.