I've just been asked to don the dress, walk the walk and act as bridesmaid to a friend who is now on her third marriage. There ought to be a law against women of a certain age stooping this low. To make matters worse, my friend, the mother of three grown children, is planning to wear an orange gown. None of us were prepared.

Jane* (whose name is disguised) met her Mr. Right at the gym. Jim (name also disguised) took one look at Jane's biceps and it was love at first sight. Never mind that Jim wouldn't know a bicep if it bit him in the rear, because he's blind as a bat without his glasses, but Jane's pheromones were going full force that day and she gave off a scent that sent Jim reeling. Six months later, he popped the question, and she and Jim immediately set the date for a June wedding. Jane called the caterer, the florist, the musicians, and started buying bridal magazines. She alerted her dearest friends asking us all to be her ladies in waiting.

"In waiting for what?" I asked.

"My wedding," Jane said. "I want you be one of my bridesmaids."

"How many bridesmaids are you having?"

"Six, and Susan is the maid-of-honor."

Susan, Jane's 35-year-old daughter cringed at the thought. "You've got to be kidding, mom," she said.

But Jane wasn't kidding about any of it, including the color of the dresses, which she said had to match and must be in the salmon family because she was planning an orange wedding.

"Orange is new white," Jane explained when we met at a shop that specializes in grotesque dresses. "I've already chosen the one I think will flatter you all."

"You all" meant the six of us, who were different shapes and sizes with complexions that made us look like death warmed over in orange. To please Jane, we had no choice but to acquiesce.

"Can't we find something in black?" Margot, the most outspoken among us asked.

"What?" Jane went apoplectic. "This isn't a funeral. It's my wedding."

"Like there's a difference?" Margot whispered.

Being the good friends that we are, and not wanting to disappoint Jane, who took this all quite seriously, we slipped into the orange taffeta dresses with a fuzzy lump in the back that was refereed to as a "pouf."

"Poufs are the latest rage," Claire, the shop owner said. "They add a certain je ne sais quoi."

Our poufs were white tulle and as stiff as cardboard.

I had to agree: it did add a certain "je ne sais quoi" by making an already atrocious-looking dress even uglier. Not only did we look like oversized oranges, but the "pouf" accentuated our rear ends as though we were sporting rabbit tails.

"Can't we lose the pouf?" I dared to ask when I peered into the three-way mirror."

"Never," Jane said, "The pouf makes the dress. It's like the icing on the cake."

Speaking of which, Jane arranged to have the cake custom-designed by the New York connoisseur, Monsieur Henri-Luc, who specialized in wedding cakes for the more mature couple. Instead of traditional white, he suggested an orange cake to match the color scheme and blend in with the tablecloths and flowers, all in the orange family as well. It would be accented with orange blossoms and snap dragons.

After our dresses were fitted, we studied ourselves, trying to keep from either laughing or crying, whatever emotion came first. Jane stood back and applauded while Claire said we were the loveliest bridesmaids she had ever seen.

Later, my husband, Mark asked what the dresses looked like.

"Imagine you've died and been reincarnated as a Creamsicle," I said.

"They couldn't be that bad."

"Trust me, they are. You'd better be prepared to get very drunk and bring along your sunglasses. The orange glare will blind you."

The big day will soon be upon us. The dresses are ready, and all we need now are the shoes. I never realized how difficult it is to find orange strappy sandals, but for $300 I finally found a pair. The heels are so high I'll need Dramamine to ward off altitude sickness. The good news is: if I trip while walking down the aisle, the pouf will break my fall.

Westporter Judith Marks-White shares her humorous views every Wednesday in the Westport News. She can be reached via e-mail at joodth@snet.net or at www.judithmarks-white.com.