Hurricane Hijacks Flake Staffer’s Wedding

Jason Samuels was supposed to get married in Charleston on Saturday

Courtney Singer and Jason Samuels will try again for the big ceremony in April. (Photo courtesy of Jason Samuels' Facebook)
Courtney Singer and Jason Samuels will try again for the big ceremony in April. (Photo courtesy of Jason Samuels' Facebook)
Posted October 6, 2016 at 5:00am

One of the biggest days in the life of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake‘s communications director, Jason Samuels, has been hijacked by Hurricane Matthew.

Samuels was supposed to get married to Courtney Singer in Charleston, South Carolina, on Saturday. But that’s about the time the city should be feeling the strongest effects of the storm as it churns offshore.

So he and Singer are self-officiating their wedding on the roof of The Watergate on Thursday evening.

“On Tuesday morning, I woke up and started crying and said, I think we will have to call it off,” said Singer, an editor at Wood Consulting in Washington, where she edits Federal Aviation Administration documents.

In a bit of irony, the bride foresaw the possibility in the couple’s wedding invitation.

On their wedding website is the message: “It’s an outside wedding in October in South Carolina. This means the weather could be literally anything (hot and swampy, coolish and misty, blustery with a side of hurricane), but we are aiming for perfect. However, the show WILL go on and will be held regardless! Layers friends, layers.” 

Their website has since been updated.

“I feel like we’ve become amateur meteorologists over the past week,” Samuels said. “Courtney knows way more about hurricanes than I thought she ever would.”

On Monday, the couple will leave for their honeymoon.

Heard on the Hill This Week: Rooftop Wedding and Red Carpet Premiere

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“Courtney said she wanted to make it legal before we left for the honeymoon,” Samuels said. “So I called the marriage bureau in D.C. and I asked, ‘Hey, is there any way you can get us in sooner than you typically do for a civil ceremony?’ And they said, ‘You can self-officiate.’”

They will have another ceremony with family in April, weather permitting.

“[Thursday] won’t be the real show,” Samuels said.

Singer grew up in North Carolina and her parents have since retired to Charleston. The wedding was originally going to be held in her parents’ backyard.

“I didn’t even know how to start undoing a wedding,” Singer said. “Everyone was super nice. All the vendors were more than understanding and moved everything to a later date.”

Flake’s office has helped the couple do some of the last-minute planning.

“It’s turning into a wedding equivalent of Friendsgiving,” Samuels said.

He was chatting in his office about where to hold their ceremony and party, and the staff was brainstorming D.C. rooftops with him.

“We didn’t reserve anything,” Singer said. “I bought this dress [I’m wearing] for the rehearsal dinner. It’s not white or anything.”

In Flake’s office, “someone said, ‘Maybe the Watergate? They have one of the best views in town now,’” Samuels recalled.“It’s huge. You can probably show up and do it, have a bunch of friends go up and meet there.”

They will sign the document on Thursday night to make it official. And their parents will be part of the ceremony via FaceTime.

“My office manager actually went ahead and ordered Courtney a bouquet as a wedding gift,” Samuels said. “Her friends are chipping in and getting a cake.”

Flake has not been told as yet, but Samuels thinks he will get a good laugh out of it when he does.