Waldorf Astoria Hotel

Putting more pop in the question

Michael Pesi may have met the woman of his dreams in the modest surroundings of a Merchant's Tire waiting room, but when it came time to propose marriage, he thought big.

He considered whisking girlfriend Aletta Muzila off to New York and popping the question over dinner at their favorite celebrity chef's restaurant but nixed the idea.

"It was trite," Pesi concluded. "It's been done before."

So the Parkville entrepreneur and investor came up with a more unusual scheme. He took Muzila, a psychotherapist, to his childhood home in West Virginia last Thanksgiving and tricked her into going out to the mall with relatives. She returned to find the...