the world’s oldest bridal company

I just love stories that are seeping in history and Ellis Bridals has perhaps one of the most interesting, historical stories I’ve ever heard along with a heap of gorgeous wedding dress designs!

It all began with Ada Ellis, a London girl with an interest in garment design. She designed her own bridal gown in 1910 and it was so beautiful that she received a flurry of requests for garments from countless brides-to-be all over London. Her passion for bridal design soon became her business and she set up shop in the east end of London.

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Whist Ada masterminded her new business she also found time to start a family of her own with Lilly, Minnie, and Sidney Ellis. As the children grew up running amongst their mother’s beautiful creations the youngest, Sidney, developed an interest in the company. However, he was called off to fight along the German front during the war whilst his family dodged bombs in London. The Ellis family decided to move to much safer Brighton, however this didn’t diminish Ada’s passion and she quickly picked back up where she had left off.

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Sidney returned from service unscathed and immediately took over the family business. He has his mother’s eye for beauty and his father’s keen sense of business and grew it from there. In the 1960s Ellis Bridals was a leading bridal company and the best in the business. The then editor of Brides magazine chose an Ellis Bridals gown for her own wedding and Ellis’s popularity soared. Their gowns were setting bridal trends as they took elements from the mainstream fashion world, keeping their designs contemporary and they were soon carried in luxury department stores Harrods and Selfridges.

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The royal weddings of Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson captured the public’s hearts in the 1980s and 1990s. Sidney capitalized on this by being the first designer to produce gowns resembling those of royalty and place them in department stores where brides could afford them.

Ellis Bridals is now headed up by Barry Waterman as Chairman and Regine Ellis as managing director with her son James Ellis as the fourth generation in the company. The brand has now expanded worldwide to over 250 stockists – and to include the whole wedding party with sister brands Kelsey Rose bridesmaids and John Charles Occasionwear.

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2012 marked the 100th anniversary of Ellis, with that in mind Regine and her team have really looked into what the soul of the brand is. “Our research soon became an obsession” stated Regine, “we spend many late nights searching through old photos and letters piecing together our history in fashion.”

What the team found was a wealth of design elements, which are just as relevant today as they were back then, they also found that Ellis is officially the world’s oldest bridal brand. A fact which all of the Ellis family are very proud of!

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Be sure to check out the entire Ellis collection here.

*Partnered Post


About Sara Burnett

Editor of Burnett's Boards, which she founded to showcase global creativity in the wedding industry. Sara currently lives out of a suitcase while island hopping the Caribbean and beyond. Learn More // Follow on Instagram.


  1. Classic ! Loved reading your article

  2. I love reading company histories! These gowns are gorgeous, then and now!

  3. artfullywed says

    I had no idea! Fascinating!