Real Weddings

Holiday romance turns into a lifetime of love for Claire and Josh

Beyoncé once sang, ‘If you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it’. And this is exactly what Josh Raumer from Sydney did a number of years after falling in love with Claire Mc- Gale from Omagh.

In fact, Beyoncé was performing in a rooftop pool bar called The Ivy in Australia where the pair met for the very first time, back in May 2009 while Claire was on holiday. Fast-forward nine years though, and Claire and Josh were wed in a traditional, personal ceremony at the Sacred Heart Church in Omagh, which took place on May 18, 2018.

Performed by Fr Christopher Mc- Dermott, the wedding featured ‘The Rose’ as the entrance music – Claire’s late grandmother’s favourite song – and the newlyweds’ dog, Molly was the trusty ring-bearer.

Their wedding reception took place in Lough Eske Castle in Donegal – a beautiful place which featured a wealth of history and one that Claire chose with her Australian guests in mind. “Josh’s parents love castles,” she explained. “It’s elegant and classy, but you also feel like you’re in Ireland.”

Claire Raumer (née McGale) looks beautiful on her wedding day.

Claire explained that she first met Josh while on a holiday in Sydney to visit her best friend, Colette McKenna. Deciding to go into the heart of the city one warm summer’s evening, Colette jokingly said, ‘Let’s get you a man’ – and as if it were destined to happen, Claire stumbled across Josh that night and the pair began dating just two days later.

Then in 2013, Josh moved to Ireland permanently to be with Claire. “Josh is the love of my life,” said Claire, who is a digital sales accountant. “I love that he has moved his life across the world. “He has left all his family and friends to be with me – and he comes from a beautiful, amazing large Italian and Australian family. “I also like how he makes an effort with my family and friends, and though we are opposites, my imperfections are his strengths.”

On January 11, 2017, while on a romantic break to Sydney, Josh proposed to Claire in a truly romantic and very unique way. “He said that we were catching a ferry across the harbour, but when we arrived it turned out that he had hired a private yacht for the night,” Claire described.

“He gave me envelopes detailing our history, and they had pictures and writing on them. “In the last one, he was on one knee proposing. It was very romantic and I cried.” Josh, who is a self-employed tiler, presented Claire with a platinum ring, which featured a solitaire on a diamond encrusted band. “I loved my ring, Josh chose it himself,” she said.

With their hearts set on a wedding in the lush Irish countryside, Claire and Josh jumped straight in to wedding planning as soon as they returned home from Oz. Claire visited eight different wedding dress shops, alongside her ‘very patient bridesmaids’ until she found her perfect wedding gown – one that incorporated a fitted bodice, with a sparkly belt and a beautifully flowing ball gown skirt.

Groom Josh Raumer, with his best man, Anthony Casamento and groomsmen, Damien McGale, Jarrad Raumer and Matthew Raumer

“We went to nearly every bridal shop in Northern Ireland,” she laughed. “However I felt like a princess when I put on that dress. We knew instantly that it was my dress.”

On the morning of Claire’s wedding, the sunshine beamed from the heavens and the Omagh woman felt a mixture of nerves and excitement – but most of all, she couldn’t wait to become Mrs Claire Raumer. “I couldn’t believe that our day had come,” she said. “Myself and Josh have been on a journey which started many years ago in Oz. People thought that it was simply a holiday fling, but to us it was the real thing.”

Whisked away to the church in a lovely vintage limo alongside her father, Dessie, Claire described the service as “personal and touching” due to the music and the people present. “The entrance song was ‘The Rose’,” she said. “This was my granny Eva’s song, and was very special as she wasn’t at the wedding. “Molly, our dog, brought up our rings. As she is our furbaby, this meant a lot to us too.”

Inviting their close friends and family, including 30 guests from Australia, to their wedding celebrations, Claire and Josh were on the dance floor all night in Donegal. “You can have the band, the entertainment but without the people and the right crowd a wedding is nothing,” Claire concluded.

“We had so much love in one room, and they all made an effort and loved the day. “A lot of people even said it was the best wedding they had been to. “And for us, it was the best day of our lives.”

Newlyweds Claire and Josh Raumer, alongside their maid of honour, Colette McKenna, best man Anthony Casamento, bridesmaids Lorraine Hyndman, Paula McGleenan and Tanya Mulcahy and groomsmen Damien McGale, Jarrad Raumer, and Matthew Raumer

• The Finer Details •

Church: Sacred Heart Church, Omagh.
Wedding dress: Peony Bridal, Hillsborough.
Hair stylist/salon: HiTec, Omagh.
Make-up: Lauren Montgomery.
Bridal Shoes: Peony Bridal, Hillsborough.
Head piece/veil: Peony Bridal, Hillsborough.
Bridesmaid dresses: Rosie’s Closet.
Groom’s/groomsmen’s suits: Red Groomswear, Belfast.
Cake supplier: Jeanette Moore.
Cake: Five-tiered, decorated with flowers and colour matched bridesmaid’s dresses.
Florist: McGarry Florist.
Ringbearer: Molly (newlyweds’ dog):
Transport: Glendale Limos.
Reception: Lough Eske Castle, Donegal.
Number of guests at reception: 110.
Band: Atmosphere.
First dance song: ‘Unchained Melody’.
Photographer: Katrina Taggart Photography.
Videographer: Stevie Lawn from Coolisk Digital Video.
Other entertainment: Irish dancers from Seamus McNicholl’s School of Dancing; Notty Pine String Band for pre-wedding drinks (bride’s uncle Aiden is a member); Camouflage (DJ).
Honeymoon: Santorini. Later in year visiting North America and Australia.