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Couple who tried to tie the knot in IHOP heir’s $5.7 million home had whirlwind romance

The brazen Florida couple who tried to throw a lavish wedding at a mansion owned by an IHOP heir met in high school but only began dating last year, it has been revealed. 

Shenita Jones and Courtney Wilson hit headlines earlier this week after it was revealed they planned to tie the knot at heir Nathan Finkel’s $5.7 million home in Southwest Ranches without his permission. 

The property is currently for sale, and the couple believed the residence was vacant. 

However, plans for their big day were foiled when they found Finkel inside the home shortly before the commencement of their wedding ceremony last Saturday afternoon. 

Finkel called the cops, who arrived at the scene and stopped Jones and Wilson’s wedding from going ahead.  

Now, new details about the pair’s relationship are coming to light, including information on their whirlwind romance.  

Jones and Wilson first met 30 years ago when they were student athletes at the same Florida high school. 

According to their wedding invitation, Jones was ‘very focused’ and had dreams of getting a basketball scholarship, while Wilson was a ‘bad boy’ football player and the two lost touch.

 However, ‘fate and the Lord’ brought them back together last year, shortly after Jones ended a five year relationship and Wilson split with his wife of 20 years. 

Shenita Jones and Courtney Wilson hit headlines earlier this week after it was revealed they tried to tie the knot at a $5.7 million estate in Southwest Ranches owned by heir Nathan Finkel last Saturday 

The property is currently for sale, and the couple believed the residence was vacant. However, plans for their big day were foiled when they found Finkel inside the home shortly before the commencement of their wedding ceremony last Saturday afternoon

The property is currently for sale, and the couple believed the residence was vacant. However, plans for their big day were foiled when they found Finkel inside the home shortly before the commencement of their wedding ceremony last Saturday afternoon

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 invitation reads.

‘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’.

After becoming engaged, the pair started to search for venues for their nuptials, with Finkel’s Southwest Ranches estate catching their eye. 

They reportedly settled on the venue, even though they did not have Finkel’s express permission.  

Their brazen pair even tried to pretend the residence was theirs, with their invites asking guests to join them for a lavish ceremony at ‘our dream home’ – ‘The Wilson Estate.’  

Jones and Wilson first met 30 years ago when they were student athletes at the same Florida high school. However, the pair only began dating last year

Jones and Wilson first met 30 years ago when they were student athletes at the same Florida high school. However, the pair only began dating last year  

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

The bizarre plot purportedly 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 estate, featuring a 16,313-square-foot nine-bed home, 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, two-lane bowling alley, pool, tennis court and dance studio, it seems the couple eyed it as 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 invites 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. 

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 invite – published on a wedding 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 and another person turned up on the morning of the ceremony to find the real owner home, the Sentinel reported.  

Finkel called the police to report that people were 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

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

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.  

Broward County records show a marriage license was issued to the couple last week, but they had not registered as married by Wednesday.  

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

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