One day last winter, Cathy Stapleton attended a wedding. Everything was, as she puts it, painstakingly planned (“even the weather cooperated”). But when it came time for the wedding toasts, things spun out of control.
“The best man gave a lengthy speech that started out fairly amusing but went off the rails rather quickly with some inappropriate jokes,” Stapleton says. “The bride began to cry and the father of the bride was livid. It almost ruined the most important day of her life.”
Having already been helping folks with public speaking in the executive realm, it occurred to Stapleton that she might expand her business, Speakeasy and Company, to the wedding world as well.
“I can prevent disasters like that by teaching people how to give speeches at weddings,” she says.
Her services run the gamut—speeches for the father of the bride, the best man or maid of honor and, of course, for the couple themselves.
In the case of Morgan Kain and her husband, Noah, it was the vows that needed some work.
“As soon as we made our plans, I was immediately intimidated by the prospect of the ceremony and vows,” says Kain, a teacher who, despite performing in front of students every day, had a bad case of the jitters when thinking about voicing so much sentiment in front of a crowd. She reached out to Stapleton, a longtime family friend.
The process begins a month before the wedding and takes about three to five hours, starting with editing or composing an authentic, well-timed speech. Stapleton draws on her theater background to help the client learn how to stand, breathe and project (“so the whole audience gets the full benefit,” she says).
Looking back on her April wedding, instead of recalling her nerves, Kain remembers the more important details of the day: “The sky was blue, my babies were giggling, the trees were pink, my husband’s eyes were the most beautiful shade of blue in his gorgeous face and my face hurt from smiling.” And scene.