Couple Plans Lavish Wedding at Someone Else's Mansion

They allegedly crashed 'IHOP Mansion' in Florida
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2021 12:07 AM CDT
Updated Apr 25, 2021 1:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – Courtney Wilson and Shenita Jones had an elaborate wedding weekend planned at a luxurious Florida mansion over the weekend. Just one problem: The 16,313-square-foot Southwest Ranches home belongs not to them, as they claimed it did in their online wedding invitation, but to Nathan Finkel, son of early IHOP franchisee Abe Finkel, who inherited his father's share and grew it to 200 locations before selling off most of his portfolio nearly a decade ago, the Chicago Tribune reported in 2019. That's the year Finkel put the 7.5-acre estate on the market for $7.25 million. It remains unsold, and Wilson came to check it out, claiming to be interested in buying it, the town attorney tells the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Then, months later, he asked Finkel if he could use the backyard for his wedding. Finkel said no and thought that was the end of that.

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Until, that is, Wilson allegedly showed up at the gate with a friend Saturday morning, preparing to set up for the big day. They apparently believed the property to be abandoned, not realizing Finkel still lives there, the town attorney says. Asked to leave by Finkel, Wilson allegedly claimed it was God's will that he hold his wedding there and refused to. Police finally arrived and made him skedaddle, and he was not charged with a crime. The Sun-Sentinel has pictures of the impressive estate, which includes, among other things, a bowling alley, theater, tennis court, resort-style pool with a waterfall and slide, and two ponds. It also has photos and details from the couple's online wedding invitation, which has since been taken down. See the full story here. According to the Florida News Digest, records show the couple was issued a marriage license last week, but had not yet registered as married by Wednesday. (Read more Florida stories.)

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