Top marks in test of love
Teacher Dean Calabrese is hereby awarded an A+ for creativity following his elaborate proposal to fellow high school educator Liliane Cooley. With the help of one of his colleagues, the former Winter Paralympian and PE head at St Patrick’s Marist College Dundas dummied up a fake certificate for a “couples photo shoot” on Maroubra beach.
The mate’s wife, who Liliane
hadn’t met, acted as the photographer with the help of a friend. The couple were taking a few romantic shots on the beach when she got a big surprise.
“One photo involved us standing back to back and when I turned back around, there was Dean on one knee with a ring asking me to marry him,” Liliane says.
Hiding in the bushes out of sight were a select group of Liliane and Dean’s friends and family who shot out when she said “yes”. But what if she’d turned him down? “He knew that I would more than 100 per cent say yes!” Liliane laughs.
The couple met in 2017 when another of Dean’s colleagues told him about a teacher at his wife’s school who was looking to meet someone.
He was handed the music teacher’s business card and tried his luck.
The call led to Liliane and Dean meeting up for dinner one night on King Street Wharf and the rest is history. Both are passionate in their respective fields — Dean represented Australia in downhill skiing at the 2006 Winter Paralympic Games in Torino, and Liliane is an accomplished singer who has competed in many operatic competitions across the globe.
Dean still straps on the skis, but he has a new passion (as evidenced on their wedding cake).
“I’m a golf widow now,” Liliane says with a sigh.
While they share many common interests such as similar cultural backgrounds (“We understood what it was like to have strict wog parents,” Liliane laughs), it is also their opposites that attract.
“I feel the fact that we have completely different interests also makes us very compatible as we appreciate each other’s skills.”
They married at St George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Redfern, where Liliane is the lead chanter every Sunday, followed by a reception at Doltone House Hyde Park with 170 friends and family. PICTURES: EMOTIVA PHOTO & VIDEO