Treasure hunt ends in marriage proposal


It was a well-planned treasure hunt that led Joselyn de Leon through La Jolla’s beaches and parks and eventually brought her to what just about every woman dreams about: a marriage proposal.

Stefano Poggi and Joselyn are both pretty serious 27-year-olds, but Stefano explained they can also be childish. He figured a treasure hunt wedding proposal might be a fun way to pop the question.

“She wanted a unique proposal and I knew she deserved something really special,” Stefano said.

Stefano and Joselyn, who live in Mission Valley, met in 2000 through friends while they were sophomores at the University of California, Santa Barbara. They spent their first date, Halloween night, taking a long walk by the beach and getting to know each other better.

After dating for a few years, it was clear to both Stefano and Joselyn that marriage was down the road.

As an Italian wine market manager, Stefano classifies himself as a workaholic. Stefano said organizing a scavenger hunt wedding proposal was important to show Joselyn, who works for Girl Scouts, that he could plan a special day for her.

Stefano wanted to find the perfect engagement ring, so he took Joselyn to their favorite place - Costco. They browsed the ring section and Joselyn gasped when she saw the ring.

Stefano purchased the ring, which set the scavenger hunt plans in full swing.

He set up three days of scavenger hunts. The initial treasure hunt took place at the apartment and involved finding a small, chocolate Kinder egg with a toy inside, which is a gift that Stefano brought back from Italy. The second hunt took place around the entire apartment complex; Joselyn searched for another Kinder egg. On the third day, Stefano planned a lunch date with Joselyn to commence the real hunt.

Stefano canceled their date and told Joselyn where to find the Kinder egg, but when she opened it there was a clue inside instead of the toy.

The clue told her to go to the closet, where she found a bag packed with a dress, high heels, three Scrabble letters (W, J, M), $1.62 and an address.

“I was excited and curious because I didn’t know what was going on…I was also slightly concerned because I’m not the best with directions,” Joselyn explained.

Joselyn headed to her car where she punched in the address on the navigator, which led her to her favorite spot, where she spent $1.62 on a hot dog.

From one location to the next, Joselyn spent hours searching for clues and gathering various Scrabble letters.

After visiting the lifeguard station in La Jolla Shores, the next clue was one of her favorite books, “The Giving Tree,” which led Joselyn to UCSD’s Geisel Library.

The next stop was Villa La Jolla Park, where Stefano told her that he wanted to date her.

Joselyn read: “For your final clue, please proceed to a place that is not often seen, but from which much can be seen. I always wonder why you ask to come here, since my favorite view is always you.”

Joselyn immediately knew where she was headed: Mt. Soledad, her favorite spot in the world.

The sun was almost setting when she got to Mt. Soledad and Stefano had set up a picnic with balloons and treats from Trader Joe’s. Stefano had a semi-fake speech about how sorry he was for being a workaholic and never being home.

After convincing Joselyn that he just wanted to plan a special day of fun for her, Stefano asked her if she wanted to play a game with the Scrabble letters.

He arranged the letters on a napkin and helped her set up the letters for “Joselyn Will You Marry Me.” As Joselyn realized what he had done, Stefano presented her with two-dozen roses and the ring.

Stefano and Joselyn don’t have any definitive wedding plans but would like to have something in the works for next fall or early 2010.