always the bridesmaid

always the bridesmaid, never the bride

Said of one who is never the most important person in a particular situation or the winner of some particular thing. When will I get a promotion? I'm so sick of being always the bridesmaid, never the bride. This is the fifth time I've come in second place—always the bridesmaid, never the bride.
See also: always, bride, never

always the bridesmaid

If someone is always the bridesmaid, they are always the second most successful or important person in a situation and never the most successful or important. Ian McEwan, favourite for every literary prize from the Booker to the Whitbread but always the bridesmaid, finally won something for `Atonement'. Note: People sometimes use the full expression always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Her win in this race helped to destroy the idea that she is always the bridesmaid, never the bride.
See also: always, bridesmaid

always the bridesmaid

used to refer pityingly to someone who seems always to be allocated to a subsidiary function, and is never invited to take the lead.
The expression probably originated in the words of a 1917 song by Charles Collins , Fred W. Leigh , and Lily Morris : ‘Why am I always the bridesmaid, never the blushing bride?’.
See also: always, bridesmaid
References in periodicals archive ?
We would recommend Always the Bridesmaid, by Lindsey Kelk (Harper, PS7.
DEIRDRE O'BRIEN ALWAYS THE BRIDESMAID Lindsey Kelk Harper Fiction.
It's been a case of always the bridesmaid and never the bride for us recently, losing out at the semi-finals in the Plate on two occasions and missing out on a Silver Ball final, so we are hoping that our luck will change and we will get over the line this year.
Always the bridesmaid but never the bride, the 34-year-old former Ryder Cup player has finished as runner-up on nine European Tour events, including this one in 2009, but looks set to finally break his duck.
Always the bridesmaid but never the bride when it comes to Grand Slam, Simona Halep aims to advance to the Finals of the Wimbledon after several disappointments in previous tournaments.
Always the bridesmaid but never the bride, poor Syrian actress, Sulaf Fawakherji , has once again been pipped to the post.
Always the bridesmaid Jessica Harrington has had five winners in the past week and will be hoping Celtic Cailin enjoys a change of luck.
David Barron, successful with Coastal Bluff in 1996, is represented by the luckless Waffle, seemingly always the bridesmaid and never the bride, and Pearl Ice who makes more appeal.
We got there in 2009 and Warrington beat us and that's a bittersweet memory for me personally, and lots of the lads played in the 2006 final when they lost as well (to St Helens at Twickenham), so we're always the bridesmaid never the bride.
Clark was always the bridesmaid, never the bride on the PGA Tour, with eight second-place finishes, but you never would have guessed as he held his nerve to come home one shot ahead of good friend Robert Allenby.
Katherine Heigl (pictured) is always the bridesmaid, never the bride in this entertaining romcom.
Hill added: "It's been a case of always the bridesmaid and never the bride in terms of promotions in my career - it's not happened for me yet
It's been said we're always the bridesmaid, but never a bride," said Galencia, whose team lost in the final the previous two seasons.
And as the saying goes, she is always the bridesmaid, but never the bride.
Anne Fletcher's film waltzes down the aisle of predictability as the resourceful heroine seeks to rewrite the assumption that she is always the bridesmaid and never the bride.