20 Years of Love and Celebrations
June 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of us hosting incredible weddings & celebrations in Avalon. It now feels appropriate to reflect on how it all began, how Avalon has played a part in so many celebrations and what plans there are for the future.
As you may already know, the King Arthur Hotel is a family business ran by the O’Driscoll family. Kim & Len hosted their first wedding here some 24 years ago in a large marquee behind the main pub. This came about from locals asking if they could hold their wedding receptions at The King. The marquee soon became a popular Swansea venue for weddings and parties in the Summer Months. Kim & Len recognised that there was a need for a more permanent, all-weather venue in Gower and so in 2002 work began on a fantastic new banqueting hall.
Did you know?
Before the venue plans were put in place, Len’s original idea for developing the KA was building a golf course!
Aerial shot of the hotel with marquee before work on Avalon & new accommodation began
Sadly, Len never saw Avalon completed as he was tragically killed in a car accident in October of that year. Kim and the family were determined to carry out Len’s vision and work on the aptly named ‘Avalon’ was completed in June 2003.
The name ‘Avalon’ came about from a suggestion box set up in the pub. It was the late John Henderson & late Alan Richards, two much loved locals, who’s suggestions of Avalon was chosen.
Did you know?
Avalon represents a mythical island within Arthurian legend. Avalon is often described as a utopian paradise, symbolising harmony, perfection, and romantic ideals.
The opening party in June 2003 was certainly a night to remember. Avalon was packed full of family, friends & locals. Len’s grandchildren cut the ribbon and Avalon was officially open. ‘Nightshift’ band & resident DJ Justin provided the music and as you can see from the photos below it was a busy night!
The extensive renovations included 12 beautiful en-suite bedrooms across the courtyard, the conversion of the 18th century Guinevere’s stone cottage and the completion of the landscaped gardens, lily pond & flower meadow.
We’ve been lucky enough to host a few famous people over the years…Michael Ball, Tim Peake and composer Sir Karl Jenkins to name a few.
Donna & Rhys booked their wedding with us before Avalon was built. Here are a few photos from their special day on 7th May 2004.
Not only is Avalon a renowned Swansea wedding venue to say ‘I do’, it’s played host to many other celebrations and events over the years. From conferences to birthday parties, baby showers to celebrations of life. Customer favourites include our ‘Wear it Pink’ Charity Nights, Bonfire night, and not forgetting our famous curry and carols with the brilliant Dunvant rugby club singers.
In April 2011, Kim and Alex celebrated the 20th anniversary of owning the KA. They marked the occasion with a fantastic medieval party in Avalon. Guests were greeted with goblets of wine and tankards of ale, birds of prey were majestically perched in the courtyard, flame throwers medieval jugglers offered entertainment and the hog roast buffet was a delicious feast.
Going above and beyond..
We know that what truly sets the KA apart is the genuine care, attention and support we offer to our clients.
When it comes to weddings, we understand that its more than just an event- it’s an experience. From the initial look around the venue, to the last dance, our professional wedding team go above and beyond to ensure that every wedding detail comes to life.
No two weddings are the same, so we pride ourselves on the personal approach we take, really getting to know our clients. On the day of an event, our dedicated team flawlessly execute the meticulously planned timeline, ensuring everything runs smoothly, allowing the couple and their guests to fully immerse themselves in the occasion.
Our dedication to exceptional service has earned us the trust of countless couples over the years. This is echoed in the remarkable feedback we receive from our clients and certainly won’t change in the future.
As we celebrate a remarkable milestone, we are humbled to have played a part in so many couples’ most special day.
Over the years..
The venue has received many accolades over the years including three times winner of the Regional Best Wedding Venue, Best in Wales, Best Wedding coordinator in Wales (wedding manager Rhian) plus the Women in Business Lifetime Achievement award in 2018 went to owner Kim. The business was also twice listed on the Fast Growth 50 list.
Notable developments over the years include the complete rebuild and refurbishment of the neighbouring cottages which have been turned into four luxury self-catering cottage apartments. Not only popular with tourists, they offer a perfect place for our couples to get ready on the morning of their wedding.
Our 18 bedrooms have been upgraded numerous times over the years with new bathrooms throughout and the addition of an accessible bedroom/ bathroom in room 14.
The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a devastating blow to the wedding industry, causing unprecedented challenges and hardships for businesses in our industry. We understood the uncertainty and changing circumstances faced by couples during the pandemic. Not only did we have to introduce enhanced cleaning and social distances measures, we also had to adjust our capacity limits significantly. We offered flexible rescheduling options and relaxed our cancellation policies to accommodate our couples who had to postpone or cancel their big day. We are proud of the way we dealt with the situation as a business and despite the major staffing issues we faced last year, like all hospitality businesses, we are pleased to say that 2022 was a record year for weddings at the KA.
Gratitude & Appreciation
It’s also an important time to thank everyone who has helped us make the past 20 years so successful. The real highlight of the past two decades has been meeting such amazing people along the journey. From the friendly suppliers to our amazing clients- we couldn’t have done it without you.
A big thank you must also go to our incredible KA team, the backbone to its success. Kim often says that a business is only as good as its staff and this is so true.
As we look to the future, in many ways nothing will change. You can expect more incredible weddings & events, the same dedication from our fabulous team and the same personal service to our clients.
We have exciting plans in the pipeline for outdoor wedding ceremonies. Coming April 2024, watch this space!
Twenty years as a Swansea wedding venue has been a remarkable journey filled with countless cherished moments. Here’s to 20 years of love, celebrations and to the unforgettable memories yet to be made in Avalon. Thank you for being a part of our story.