always the bridesmaid, never the bride

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 ?
HIT In I've been a bridesmaid once for my sister so you could say always the bridesmaid, never the bride."
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Now she's the bride."
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!'
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".
Some may say Liverpool, 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.
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, you might well say.
KATHERINE Heigl is always the bridesmaid, never the bride in 27 DRESSES (12).
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.Standardissue chic-flick which fans of this sort off thing will lap up without stopping to think why.
They say, 'Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.'
For far too long the people of this city have meekly accepted the 'Second City' label and have been treated as second class, second rate, always the bridesmaid, never the bride.
Wise brides value them, recognising that they selflessly play second fiddle and often suffer endless repetition of that ghastly cliche "always the bridesmaid, never the bride" that invariably gets levelled at them by some cheeky guest during the reception.
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride...that fate seems to be in store for EMMA (Cert U, on release now).
Career-orientated Jane is always the bridesmaid, never the bride. In fact, she's so good at being a bridesmaid that she's done the job 27 times, and has a wardrobe full of dresses to prove it.