Madison and Jason

Louisville, Kentucky


Photography | Gretchen Bell Photography@hernameisgretchen

Venue | Louisville Public Library @louisvillefreepubliclibrary

From the Bride

Jason Schmidt was standing amongst the crowd at the 2014 Fillies and Stallions Derby Eve event held at the Mellwood Art Center when I decided to stroll over and stick my hand out for an introduction. There was a sea of females within the room and the group he was chatting with, but I had this random sense of necessity to meet him. It was an abrupt hello, as I simply stated, “Hi, I’m Madison, I don’t believe we’ve ever met before.” He just sort of looked at me, a bit shocked, and shook my hand and asked to buy me a drink, I replied no, but he insisted. I politely declined again pointing out that it was an open bar so there was no need to buy me a drink, but I’d be happy with a free refill.


The lack of expectation provided for a travel filled, light hearted “summer fling” that shockingly led to a drawer and half a closet, then eventually our first home together after a year. There was no denying that I was passionate about him and the feelings were reciprocated. After a couple years of pressure, cooking the idea of marriage, he finally called his old friend Jordan Clines, of Jordan Clines Jewelers, and placed him on the lookout for a traditional ring with unique character. With no hesitation, Jordan prevailed with a traditional three stone setting featuring a yellow diamond as the main stone; exactly what Jason was unknowingly looking for. With no true plan on when or where to propose, Jason purchased the ring on the morning of Valentine’s Day.

I had become antsy about whether he was going to propose, as I had set a timeline in my head that it would be soon; we had been together for almost four years for heaven’s sake! Little did I know, that he concocted a plan that was beyond perfect. The morning of the 2018 Kentucky Derby I was all out of sorts. It was rainy and chilly, my hat was not sitting on my head right and lord was it heavy! Our dear friends had a horse running in the Pat Day Mile that day so while I was having issues, the suite was filled with excitement and energy. Just prior to the race, a girlfriend of mine asked me to assist her with her zipper in the restroom, so I obliged. We remained in the suite’s restroom chatting it up and refreshing our hair and makeup. Three steps out the door, Jason was on one knee surrounded by our friends. It was an immediate squeal followed by tears from me and a simple statement from him, “You know how much I love you, you know how much I love these people, will you spend the rest of your life with me!”


We are almost six months into our engagement and have nailed down The Filson Historical Society on June 29th, 2019. I visited my parents in July and found a dress that checked off everything I did not want in a dress, but fell so deeply in love with it that I wore it around the store for an hour and a half looking at other dresses and accessories. The last and most important detail for me, besides my dress, was having an exceptional photographer. My “interview” with Gretchen started as any other, but morphed into a several hour conversation about all things at MADS Gallery. I am eager to marry by best friend but am thrilled the most important day of my life will be captured by a new friend!