We Three Kings – Goldsmiths And Contemporary Jewellers

This month’s spotlight is on goldsmiths and contemporary jewellers, We Three Kings of Bridge Street, Witney. When the Lula Mai team was looking for a supplier to provide the wedding bands, theirs was a name that came up in recommendations time and again.

The rings that Nikki and Bill Maddocks make at We Three Kings are personal and designed especially for the couple, making them perfect for the Big Day. So when Nikki and Bill generously agreed to supply bespoke wedding rings for our lucky couple the team was delighted. And it’s all the more fitting since Bill and Nikki have their own connection with the emergency services, as Bill is an on-call firefighter in Witney.

Unique pieces to be passed down generations

At We Three Kings, Nikki and Bill offer a personal and friendly service – creating jewellery at the bench in their workshop. Their clients don’t need to know exactly what they want.  Bill and Nikki will have a chat and find out more about their ideas, the occasion and what they do and don’t like. Then they draw up designs free of charge and provide a costing. When the client is happy with both, Bill makes up the piece. Each one reflects something personal and goes on to be treasured, often with the intention to pass it down through the generations.

We Three Kings contemporary jewellers

Nikki and Bill design and make their jewellery at the bench

Bespoke pieces are designed to be handed down through generations

Bespoke pieces are designed to be handed down through generations

Bill says, “Nikki and I have a great job, designing and making jewellery for all types of occasions. Nikki is very creative and has lots of design ideas and I enjoy the technical challenge of making the piece up.

“We are so fortunate to have a career we love. It is such a privilege to be able to be part of the journey, from guiding people through the design stages to presenting them with the finished piece.” – Bill and Nikki Maddocks

“Our customers are usually surprised how straightforward and enjoyable the whole experience is”, says Nikki. “When they see we can work to a budget and make something that truly reflects them and their style, they often wonder why they haven’t commissioned a piece before.”

How it all began…

Nikki and Bill met whilst studying jewellery design at college. Nikki went on to a degree in three-dimensional design, majoring in silversmithing and Bill went to Epsom to study goldsmithing. They married whilst they were both still students and after graduating they decided to set up on their own, making jewellery, selling through galleries and trade fairs.

A child, and a business, is born

We Three Kings Witney

We Three Kings in Bridge Street, Witney

In 1995, Nikki and Bill had their first child, moved to Bridge Street and opened We Three Kings. At first they sold a variety of crafts and jewellery, created by more than 50 artists, as well as making their own jewellery at the bench.

Following the birth of their second child in 1997, they refurbished We Three Kings to focus on their jewellery and that made by a number of other British artists. Nikki made up collections for the shop while Bill continued the bespoke work, making the pieces that mean so much to people.

The shop and their home were badly affected in the 2007 floods and they had the mammoth task of renovating We Three Kings. At this point, Nikki and Bill decided to concentrate purely on designing and making their own bespoke jewellery and they haven’t looked back.

It means so much to be involved in the Big Day

Nikki and Bill are designing and making Ross and Emma’s wedding bands. The couple loved We Three Kings so much that they commissioned them to create a gorgeous bespoke engagement ring for Emma. Now Bill and Nikki are working on designing a wedding band that complements that ring and Ross’s band will reflect his wife-to-be’s.

“We love a wedding and we were keen to be involved – working in the emergency services is like having a second family”, says Bill. “We cannot wait to see Ross and Emma take their wedding vows and exchange their rings. They give so much of their time to helping others in the community; it is great to be able to give them something back. They are such a lovely couple and we are really excited to be a part of their wonderful day.”

We Three Kings design and create their jewellery in Bridge Street, Witney. To find out more, email billmad@ntlworld.com , visit their new website We Three Kings or call 01993 775399.

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Ross and Emma’s story

This month it’s the turn of our lovely bride and groom, Ross and Emma, to take the spotlight. The Lula Mai team already know their story pretty well from the application they made for The Big Day.

We judged and chose our couple on many different criteria, including: The length of time together, ability to cope with pressure, commitment and compatibility, the story, the likelihood of remaining a married couple, future plans, approach to the application form and attitude to the possibility of winning. Emma and Ross ticked all the boxes and our decision was unanimous.

We recently spent an hour chatting to them so we could hear their tale first hand and share it with you.

Third time lucky

Emma and Ross first met 10 years ago, when they were just 19 and 22. Ross had been training at RAF Cranwell with Emma’s sister, Sarah, who invited her sisters to the graduation ball. When Ross first set eyes on Emma that evening, his first thought was “God, please let her be single”! Emma, on the other hand says, “I remember thinking he was skinny and a bit geeky”!

2004

They spent the evening of the ball together and met up a few times in the next couple of weeks but life prevented their relationship developing further, with Emma in Oxford and Ross working in Lincolnshire. When Ross was posted to Oxfordshire, Emma was ironically moving up north to study. So for a while they lost touch.

When they next met up, they both happened to be single and dated for a few months. Yet, once again, it just wasn’t meant to be. Ross was doing month-long trips overseas with little Internet or phone contact possible and Emma had already committed to move abroad with work.

“It seemed to be a case of ‘right person, wrong time’”, says Ross. “There were more than enough chances to say ‘this doesn’t make sense’ but something just kept on bringing us back together.”

2008

Their third chance came at Christmas in 2010. Having just returned to live in the UK, Emma suggested meeting up and told Ross she thought they’d made a mistake by not being together. Little did she know that it really was their last chance; Ross had set a personal deadline of the end of that year for them to finally work it out, or he would move on for good.

Emma moved in with him two weeks later and they haven’t looked back since!

Supporting each others’ passions in life

The early days of life as a military partner brought challenges for Emma. Ross was away for up to 10 hours a day, while she was at home in their tiny flat, working for a non-profit news website where she had little face-to-face contact with people. She decided to make a huge change, and follow her true passion of helping women and families by training as a midwife.

“That really sealed the deal for us”, she says, “I couldn’t have done it without Ross’s support”.

Emma then found work as a maternity support worker, before being accepted onto a three-year training course. Although she fits part-time work caring for elderly people in around her studies, the financial pressures of her studying full-time for three years meant that their wedding plans were a long way off.

Ross meanwhile is based at RAF Brize Norton, carrying military passengers and freight worldwide. The schedules and inevitable last minute nature of military life mean that Ross and Emma’s time together is still rare. “You get used to going to events on your own”, says Emma.

They’re looking forward to moving into married quarters next year, which will be the first time they’ve properly set up a home together.

2012

We thought we didn’t stand a chance of winning

It was Emma who saw the competition on Facebook and thought she’d give it a go, inspired that it involved telling their story. “You’ve got to be in it to win it!” she says. Ross warned her not to get her hopes up and they truly thought they had no chance of winning.

When the call came, Emma says she’d never been so shocked in her whole life. Away visiting friends, she was a couple of hundred miles away from Ross. When they got the news, each of them jumped in the car and met in Oxford. Next came a couple of crazy hours phoning friends and family at before Lula Mai announced them as winners the following morning.

The Big Day means so much

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and we’re so grateful to Lula Mai and all the suppliers”, says Ross. “We could have had a very small wedding but it was so important to have friends and family there that we had originally decided to save for a few years first. But we’re 30 and 32 now so it’s great not having to wait”. He adds, “This simply wouldn’t have been possible without The Big Day”.

Giving something back

Both Ross and Emma both feel a huge sense of responsibility as winners of The Big Day. Emma says, “We’re representing the military and emergency services, and the day is such a team effort by all the suppliers, showing their support for everyone in the services and all that they do.”

Ross says, “I’m not daunted by public speaking, it’s part of my job, yet speaking to everyone at the Lula Mai supplier event was nerve-wracking because it was so personal. Having all these great people with us on this journey is amazing.”

The couple feel they have been incredibly lucky to receive so much that they want to give something back. Instead of asking their wedding guests for gifts, they’ll be giving people the chance to donate to two charities that reflect their careers and passions:  The Royal British Legion is the UK’s leading Service charity, providing care and support to serving members of the Armed Forces, veterans of all ages and their families; Hamlin Fistula UK supports the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in its care for women from all over Ethiopia who have suffered complications and life-changing injury in childbirth, many of whom have travelled for weeks, even months, to seek treatment.

Emma and Ross are a truly lovely couple who are clearly made for each other. We really can’t wait to see them enjoying their Big Day next April.

A dream wedding at Witney Lakes Resort

You may have seen from Facebook or Twitter that we have now selected our couple, Ross and Emma. We’ll be sharing their story on the blog very soon. In the meantime, here is an insight into the gorgeous venue of Witney Lakes Resort where Ross and Emma will be getting married in April.

Our chosen couple, Ross and Emma.

Our chosen couple, Ross and Emma (Photo: Darren Bedding Photography).

Witney Lakes Resort was one of the very first suppliers to come on board with The Big Day. As well as providing the location for the wedding ceremony, they are generously providing a three-course wedding breakfast, with wine, for up to 75 people, drinks on arrival and for the toasts, and an evening buffet.

An outdoor ceremony in the stunning summerhouse

Ross and Emma’s wedding ceremony will take place in the stunning waterside summerhouse (unless it’s pouring with rain – so keep your fingers crossed!). Let’s not tempt fate but last year, out of 21 weddings at Witney Lakes, only one was held inside.

If the ceremony is held indoors, it will be in a room with neutral décor, which can easily be transformed into a beautiful wedding venue, complete with a red carpet to greet the bride as she walks down the aisle.

Functions Manager, Karen Wicks, does all she can to plan for an outdoor ceremony and always checks the detailed weather forecast with RAF Brize Norton. This is very apt, since this is where bridegroom Ross is based!

We caught up with Event and Business Manager, Lauren Beck to find out more about Witney Lakes’ involvement with The Big Day.

Why did Witney Lakes become involved with The Big Day?

Lauren: “It’s a great opportunity to provide the couple with a lovely location to get married. The fact that it was a competition made it all the more interesting. How the suppliers have come together is amazing and it’s great to be part of that. It’s always a pleasure to see any couple smiling on their wedding day but this will be extra special, to see them really happy on the day.

It’s also a chance to show what we can do for weddings. We have a fantastic team involved and we’re seeing growth in our weddings business each year. Most people come from referrals/word of mouth so it’s an extra bonus to raise our profile and to meet some new suppliers in the wedding business.”

What makes a wedding at Witney Lakes Resort so special?

Lauren: “The outdoor ceremony. I don’t believe there’s anywhere else in Witney where you can get married in a setting quite like ours. And, as we’re off the beaten track, it’s so quiet and peaceful. Even people sitting out on the patio always fall silent as soon as the wedding starts.

Ross and Emma in the summerhouse at Witney Lakes

Ross and Emma in the summerhouse at Witney Lakes (Photo: Darren Bedding Photography).

“People rave about how hard our staff work to make sure that everything is perfect. We take the stress out of things for the couple too – there’s a meeting two weeks before the wedding when they hand their list over to us and then they can relax. In the nicest way, we hope not to hear from them in that time!”

Witney Lakes’ Director, Sean Parker, recently met the bride and groom for the first time. He says, “I was delighted to meet Emma and Ross. They’re such a lovely, humble couple. I could tell how much they already appreciate all the planning and care which is going into their big day. We are extremely happy that our beautiful venue is where all the magic is going to take place!”

You can keep up to date on plans as they progress on Witney Lakes’ Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The Lula Mai team will be blogging at least every month between now and The Big Day – telling the story as it unfolds, featuring some of the suppliers and of course sharing an exclusive interview with the bride and groom. So please do follow us: Facebook and Twitter are the places for up-to-date news and the blog is where we’ll be sharing some more in-depths insights.

Thank you for following The Big Day story.

Introducing Lula Mai – The Big Day

Hello and welcome to Lula Mai’s Big Day Blog. This is our first post on an exciting journey, which will run right up to April 2015. We’ll be following the story of one lucky couple as they prepare for the wedding of their dreams at Witney Lakes Resort.

I’m Lucy Eckley, The Big Day’s creative writer, and I’ll be blogging each month as the plans unfold. I do hope you’ll join us along the way.

What’s The Big Day all about?

The Lula Mai team wanted to do something tangible to help a deserving couple.

The Lula Mai team wanted to do something tangible to help a deserving couple.

Lula Mai is run by a team of military wives, based at RAF Brize Norton, and was founded in 2013 by Rachel Williams and Sally Hayward. I caught up with the team to find out how The Big Day began.

Sally says, “In January this year, we’d been established for a year, we’d helped our hub of suppliers to develop their businesses and we thought “now what?” We wanted to give something back to someone deserving. Rather than just pick a worthy charity, we wanted to do something tangible to make a difference.”

So the idea for The Big Day was born and, in partnership with Witney Lakes Resort, Lula Mai Events is hosting a wedding for a deserving couple from a military or emergency services background.

For Rachel and Sally, there is the added bonus that The Big Day encourages local wedding suppliers to work together. The Lula Mai team has been working tirelessly ever since to persuade businesses to pledge all the services that are vital to creating a beautiful wedding, including the wedding dress, bridesmaids’ dresses, wedding cake and photography.

Rachel says, “We have been amazed at how people have just said “yes”, even to providing the ‘big ticket’ items. Of course it might help that most of our deals are made over cake!”

Lula Mai’s in-house wedding planner, Christina Barker, says, “I can’t wait to meet the couple, to help them plan their special day and to be there to see them enjoy it. With so many people involved, it’s going to be an amazing group achievement with lots of smiles all round!”

What’s next?

Applications close on 14 June, so at the moment the team is focused on sending out application packs and securing suppliers for the last few items. Over the next few months, we’ll be introducing you to the chosen couple and featuring some of the local businesses that are giving their services to The Big Day so generously.