Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride

Vlady Peters

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Like the best man, in times past, there was no such thing as a bridesmaid who was married herself. The whole object of being a bridesmaid was to eventually achieve the status of becoming a bride herself. A girl who was being constantly solicited to be a bridesmaid, without ever negotiating to the next level of being a bride herself, was deemed to be doing something wrong. After all, she was out there, in front of all those eligibles, so why was she missing out in the bridal sweep stakes?

That it seemed inexplicable that a young woman could be so often a bridesmaid without attracting a husband herself, was first noticed in 1917 by composers Fred W Leigh and Charles Collins who between them composed this bridesmaid’s lament:-

‘Why am I always a bridesmaid,

Never the blushing bride?

Ding! Dong! Wedding bells

Always ring for other gals.

But one fine day –

Please let it be soon –

I shall wake up in the morning

On my own honeymoon. ’

The subject vexed many other brains besides those of the composers. But it was a Company which had been manufacturing Listerine since 1879 that felt it had uncovered the reason for the existence of the eternal bridesmaid. Their findings were made public in the early twentieth century with the revelation of the life of Edna.

Edna, it seems, was reaching that dangerous age of thirty, and still an unattached young woman. And as frightening as that was, the most mortifying bit was that year after year, she sat at the bridal table, playing the role of a bridesmaid to all the girls she’d attended high school with. Talk about ‘All my friends are getting married’.

Well, it seemed Mr. Listerine & Co had found the problem. Undiscovered until then, it was one of those delicate things that even your best friend couldn’t bring herself to tell you. Fortunately for the world – and the bridesmaid - Mr. Listerine & Co had no such scruples and disclosed them for all the world to see.

The fact that the Listerine profits rose from $100,000 per year in 1921 to more than $4 million in 1927, would suggest that their revelation made a lot of bridesmaids happy.

Vlady Peters is an Australian Civil Marriage Celebrant authorized to perform marriages in Australia. She also performs general ceremonies such as Baby Naming, Renewal of Vows and Commitment Ceremonies. To learn more about Vlady, visit her at


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