Just moments after Jennifer Gabrielli of Redondo Beach, Calif., finished her maid of honor toast at her big sister’s wedding Saturday, the wedding photographer told her it was the first time he’s ever seen a maid of honor get a standing ovation.
It was also likely the first time the 200 guests at the wedding had ever seen a maid of honor deliver her toast to the music of Eminem’s hit “Without Me,” customized with personalized rap lyrics.
“I memorize songs faster than I memorize speeches, so in school anything I had to memorize I’d make it into a song and sing it in the class,” Gabrielli, 24, told ABCNews.com. “I play the piano and write music and love to sing so it was better for me personally to write a rap that I’d remember than write a speech.”
“And I didn’t want to get up there and get nervous and forget everything or start to cry,” she added.
Gabrielli, an administrative assistant at a California university, at first joked with her sister, Nicole, and brother-in-law, Blake,that she was going to perform a rap at their nuptials. Then, she realized it wasn’t too bad of an idea and got to work with her best friend, the two of them spending four days writing the very personal lyrics.
“All I intended to do was to write about stuff that matters to us,” she said. “Towards the end I say, ‘I love you bigger than the sky,’ that’s something my parents and sister and I always say to each other.”
Gabrielli kept the rap a secret from everyone except her parents, two bridesmaids and the all-important wedding planner, whom she made sure to give a heads-up.
“When you say you’re going to rap your toast, that can go really wrong. It can be a total disaster,” she said. “She [the wedding planner] just wanted to make sure my parents were okay with it.”
Gabrielli’s mom especially loved the idea and helped her daughter rehearse it on the drive down to the wedding venue, the La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, Calif. She was also the first to rush the stage when Gabrielli finished, telling her daughter, “You nailed it.”
The bride and groom also approved.
“They loved it,” Gabrielli said. “Nicole said she was proud of me.”
The couple’s wedding videographer was also so enamored of her performance that he told Gabrielli he would have, “brought two cameras,” if he’d known she was going to perform. Nonetheless, the cameraman got enough of a good shot that he posted his video of Gabrielli’s rap to YouTube, where it has picked up nearly 20,000 views.
If you’re still wondering what made Gabrielli think “Eminem” when it came to her sister’s wedding, she said the Detroit rapper’s song was actually her second choice, even though she’s a big Eminem fan and knows the lyrics by heart.
“I almost went with the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” theme song but it has too much of an instrumental [break] in between and I wanted to write more lyrics,” she said. “Once I had the chorus to Eminem’s song, it was go-time. I knew I could make the rest of it work.”