I do understand the bride and groom want to put on a party to remember. But since when did being a guest require putting a limb up for sale?

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It’s just about 2 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon and I’m slumped on the “courtesy couch” at a wedding-dress outlet in Lynnwood.

All around me, crazed brides-to-be rush in and out of dressing rooms with comic timing befitting a Marx Brothers film: Doors flap open; women tumble out in whipped-cream gowns; fussing entourages of mothers and sisters descend on them, zipping and cooing.

Happily, I’m neither a family member nor a bride-to-be. Hence my position on the courtesy couch, which is designed for people like me: exhausted, penniless bridesmaids who require a quiet space to survey their receipts.

Here’s what I spent today: $110 for a dress, $40 for alterations, $55 for a pair of heinous pumps, and $15 for a sash that will, I’m told, match the groomsmen’s boutonnières. (You just hate to see a boutonnière that doesn’t match, don’t you?)

And that’s to say nothing of the small fortune ($300) I spent hosting a bachelorette party and buying plane tickets to this “destination wedding.” Booze for 15 ladies? $300. The tickets? $364. Transportation from the airport? $65. Three nights at a lodge? $317.

Those saccharine MasterCard commercials come to mind. “Being in a dear friend’s wedding? Priceless.”

Well, priceless my tulle-covered tush. $1,300 is a lot of dough. Especially considering that this wedding was the fifth of the summer where I’ve been either in the thing or a guest.

We’re talking 2,500 bones on wedding-related gifts, airfare, dresses, transportation and lodging in the past nine months.

A quick disclaimer, lest I begin to sound like an Embittered Socialite (“Oh, dear! Yet another ball I simply must attend!”): It’s my age. I’m 24; everyone I know is altar-bound.

And I do understand the bride and groom want to put on a party to remember. But since when did being a guest require putting a limb up for sale?

OK, weddings are not mandatory affairs. This season, I could choose not to go to the five or six weddings I’ve already got lined up. I could choose to decline the honor of being my best friend’s bridesmaid. I could choose not to give a speech about how she and her fiancé first met dressed in togas outside our freshman-year dorm. I could stay home and save a pretty penny. Then again, what’s the worst that could happen if I go? I could end up broke and homeless with nothing more than a duffel bag full of worn-once dresses. But hey, that’s not so bad. I could always camp out on the courtesy couch.