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 ?
Editor's pick SUMMER OF ROCKETS (BBC2, 9pm) When it comes to the Baftas, Keeley Hawes is always the bridesmaid, but never the bride.
It's been a case of always the bridesmaid for Wright, a beaten finalist in the World Championship, World Matchplay, World Grand Prix, Grand Slam and Premier League.
Always the bridesmaid, the maiden heifer, an embryo calf by Dingle Hofmeister, claimed her fourth reserve supreme title of 2018.
Justin Brownlee is to finally shed his image as always the bridesmaid but never the bride, or Renaldo Balkman is to complete a classic turnaround from being an infamous import to being a famous Best Import.
Summary: London club are always the bridesmaid. And that's not good enough
But to say she was "always the bridesmaid, never the bride" would be to sell her short.
'Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.' Many would lament that overused phrase, but in my mind, I keep thinking, 'Mabuti pa nga kayo eh!'
Not always the bridesmaid: Pippa Middleton at the royal wedding.
Mr Neil asked why Plaid - which won three of Wales' 40 seats in 2015 - had never had a "breakthrough", saying the party was "always the bridesmaid, never the bride".
We would recommend Always the Bridesmaid, by Lindsey Kelk (Harper, PS7.99), or Shoes for Anthony, by Emma Kennedy (Ebury, PS12.99).
"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.