Top marks in test of love

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - INSIDER -

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

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