For nervous Nellies, ghostwriters help craft perfect speeches

This piece originally aired on July 16, 2015.

Delivering that perfect speech is a daunting task. To get rid of those public speaking jitters, many are now turning to toast writers, complete strangers, to help them put pen to paper, reports CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan.

"Those of you who know me know that I always have to put in my two cents. And how can I not today of all days," Sharyn Mukamal said in the speech.

She has been waiting years for a chance to toast her daughter Amanda on her wedding day.

"There's so much to say. I'm so happy," she said.

Mukamal's joyful speech was filled with appreciation.

"Most importantly, I wanna thank my darling husband, Eddie, for making a lovely speech about Amanda," Mukamal continued.

The proud mother even shared her sense of humor.

"Like the time she was traveling from Amsterdam to Italy by train with her best friend Brett, man of honor tonight, and she was busted by the Italian police at the border for having pot in her bag," she said.

The story was true, the laughter, genuine, and the response, positive.

"My daughter loved it. She came up and gave me a big hug and said, 'oh mom it was great,'" Mukamal said.

But the words were not Mukamal's. The toast was written by Victoria Wellman, a professional speechwriter.

She started the Oratory Laboratory with husband Nathan Phillips six years ago.

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Victoria Wellman and Nathan Phillips
Oratory Laboratory

"We were on our way back from a wedding and we were talking about how the speeches had been really quite poor," Wellman said.

"And Victoria was, like, 'Why isn't there someone who can help those people?'" Phillips added.

The couple says they've written more than 500 speeches, everything from eulogies to wedding vows. Toasts start at $500 and keynote speeches can run in the $10,000 range.

"Victoria's without a doubt written more best-man speeches than any person in the history of the world," Phillips said.

"I'm waiting for someone to actually ask me to be a best man," Wellman said. "Like, where's that invitation?"

To ensure authenticity, the duo sends their clients extensive questionnaires.

"They're crafted in such a way that they feel surprising and unexpected," Phillips said.

And their service goes beyond words; they help with delivery as well, over Skype.

"In Sharyn's case, maybe, she has so much she wants to say, she just needs someone to work with," Phillips said.

"Because if you don't know how to use your voice, you don't know how to really say the things that you're thinking and the ideas you have, then all those amazing, beautiful thoughts and ideas, they're never gonna see the light of day," Wellman added.

After the wedding, the bride was satisfied.

"I was wondering how it would turn out but when I heard the final result, it didn't bother me at all because the way that she delivered it and the words that she was saying and the meaning behind it were exactly her," daughter Amanda said.

But does it take away from that sense of sincerity when you find out that someone else wrote the speech?

"No one cares what went into that speech. All people care about is, like, laughing and crying and feeling loved and having a community experience," Phillips said. "That's what the Oratory Laboratory is about."

Phillips and Wellman said one of the worst things you can do is try to memorize the speech. People won't remember if you used a piece of paper or not, but they will remember if you should have.