A Laura Ashley Bride- 1986


When Prince Charles wed Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, it ushered in a decade of romantic wedding dresses. They were often overdone with lots of silk and lace. However, Laura Ashley’s bridal collection was simple by comparison.  Her designs were inspired by the Victorian era and made of voile, cotton,  jacquard, moire taffeta or organza. I remember U.S. brides were disappointed by the lack of tulle, but I found them to be a breath of fresh air!


White spotted voile gown worn with wide contrasting ribbon sash was Laura Ashley’s vision of Victoriana.

(Photos- Laura Ashley Bridal Catalog, 1986)


14 thoughts on “A Laura Ashley Bride- 1986

  1. My wedding was in 1991. My search for a wedding dress was totally influenced by Princess Diana’s wedding dress. I wound up with a dress that had huge poofy sleeves, “wings” on top of those poofs, a gigantic bow on the behind, and a full, full skirt. I read recently that Diana had cringed in later years when reflecting on her dress — I too have mixed feelings about my dress when I look at the pictures from my special day. I much prefer the more elegant, simple and sexy designs. Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures – and for bringing back the memories of planning my own wedding. As always, I love, love, love your blog!

  2. Hi Lisa,

    It’s hard for those who weren’t around in the 1980’s to understand the huge influence of Diana’s wedding dress.

    My own dress was from a Vogue pattern…very simple…made of satin with long sleeves and a wide cumberbund. :)

  3. I think that bridal fashion will run full circle—again. I’m about ready to move on from the strapless dresses!

  4. The dress shown is the dress I married in, as I got married in April I needed something with long sleeves esp as the church was not heated. I did not wear the hat but I did have a headdress but no veil. I loved that it was so different from Lady Diana’s.

    1. M Guppy- Wow! I worked for the Laura Ashley co. and I remember that dress quite well. It stayed in the bridal collection for several years. It was lovely then…and still is. :)

      1. Hi– I got married in 1996, and bought a Laura Ashley wedding dress in San Francisco on sale. It’s raw silk with a lace v-neckline and looks very similar to the one that Kate Middleton wore. I had never seen a dress like mine before–until the Royal Wedding. I am wondering if anyone knows about my dress…how many were made? Who was the actual designer?

      2. Hi Carmen- Laura Ashley died in 1985…but even before she died she spent most of her time overseeing the designs of the fabrics. I’m not sure of the names who did the fashion end of things. After Laura’s death, the company went into a steady decline…eventually being bought out. Cravet Fabrics…I think…owns the rights to the fabrics…not sure about the clothing.

  5. This was my dress too, I think, picked it up in the Laura Ashley sale in Edinburgh for £40, in 1980. Loved it then and still have it now, but can’t get into it anymore sadly

    1. Hi Lesley- By far one of the prettiest dresses in Laura Ashley’s collection! Hold on to it…maybe someone in your family or a friend can wear it on their wedding day. :)

  6. I got married in the Ophelia dress from this catalogue, 25 years ago in May. It was the only dress I tried on, and It didn’t even need to be altered (and my build was nothing like the model who wore it). Yes, I still have the dress, I still have the catalogue, and I still have the same husband.

    1. Betsy- Three out of four isn’t bad! :) Seriously though…I find it harder now to keep fit than I did when I was in my twenties. I love walking every day…five miles or more helps.

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