Who knows a girl better than her sister? Sisters share a bond that even mothers and daughters often can not rival. You know your sister on a level that few know her on. And now you are her maid of honor.
The distinction truly is an honor. You get to be a major player on the most important day of her life. But it can also be a nerve-wracking experience. The maid of honor often has to give some sort of wedding speech at the reception. But what to say? Relax. Your experiences will guide your way.
A maid of honor wedding speech usually occurs after the best man's speech, during the wedding reception. This actually works to your advantage, especially if you are nervous. Guests will probably have been drinking. Even if they have not, everyone at a reception is looking to celebrate and have a good time. Everyone is on your side when you give that speech, so there's no reason to worry.
You also have the advantage of experience. You grow up with your sister and probably shared a lot of personal times with her that no one else has. You know things about your sister that even her new husband may not know. Draw on those experiences. Whether they are funny, sentimental or lighthearted, they are all good places to start a speech. But be careful not to force it. If you are not a comedian at heart, do not force yourself to be funny. People will be able to tell. You will sound awkward if you force yourself to speak unnaturally. Just say what you know and you will do fine.
Try to keep your stories relevant. You probably have a ton of experiences to draw from, but the family vacation to Disney Land might not be the most relevant topic at a wedding. Try to dig up instances that relate to the present. Maybe her first boyfriend or first kiss. Maybe the first time you met the man who eventually became her husband.
On that note, it's good to include the groom if you can. He is a part of your sister's life, a very important part, so if you can fit him into your speech, do so. You know your sister better, but hopefully you also have gotten a chance to get to know her husband.
As noted above, you will probably be speaking at the wedding's reception. That means alcohol will be making the rounds. But you should avoid it, at least before your speech. Let the guests loosen up, but keep yourself alert while that speech is still looming.
Another good idea is to have the speech written down. Hopefully you gathered your ideas before the big day and wrote them all down. Having a speech prepared well in advance will also make you less nervous. You can practice the speech that way, and run it by other people to get their feedback before you deliver it in front of a crowd.
At the end, take a deep breath and relax. You've made it. Now raise you glass high and toast the new couple. You want to end your speech on a happy note, and toasting to your sister and her husband is a great way to do that. And an easy thing to do. After all, how hard is it to be happy for your sister on her wedding day?