"By the power vested in me by our friendship, I now pronounce you married.”

So reads a recent headline for a story in The Atlantic about how more and more couples are opting to have a friend or relative serve as the officiant for their wedding. According to marriage website The Knot, the number of couples going this route rose dramatically in the last decade. In 2009, only 29 percent of respondents to an online poll said they had a friend or family member officiate their ceremony. By 2015, the most recent year referenced in the poll, that number had soared to 40 percent.

Having an officiant who knows you well as a couple can be a great way to make your wedding ceremony stand out. Just remember to:

Keep it legal

In Connecticut, those able to perform weddings include judges, magistrates, justices of the peace, and ordained or licensed members of the clergy. Unless your buddy Tim happens to be a judge, odds are whoever you have performing the ceremony will have to become a minster through an online service. This is permitted in Connecticut, but make sure whoever you choose gets their application in order when they agree to be your officiant in January, not two weeks before your wedding in July.

Choose wisely

In addition to making sure your marriage ceremony results in an actual legal marriage, you’ll want your chosen one to be someone who is comfortable speaking in public. They don’t have to be a professional actor, but they should be someone who relishes the limelight. You likely know someone who would make a speech at your wedding whether you asked them to or not. Even if you plan on keeping the ceremony short, having an officiant who knows how to project his or her voice is vital. 

The senior writer at Connecticut Magazine, Erik is the co-author of Penguin Random House’s “The Good Vices” and author of “Buzzed” and “Gillette Castle.” He is also an adjunct professor at WCSU’s MFA Program and Quinnipiac University