Bridal Shower Speech Advice for the Sister of the Bride

What to say and NOT say when toasting your sister.
Anna Hecht - The Knot Contributor.
by
Anna Hecht
Anna Hecht - The Knot Contributor.
Anna Hecht
The Knot Contributor
  • As a freelancer, Anna writes articles for The Knot Worldwide.
  • A former New Yorker, Anna now lives in Stockholm, Sweden, where she is the Deputy Managing Editor at a wellness startup.
  • In addition to writing for The Knot Worldwide, Anna has worked as an editor at CNN, a reporter for CNBC Make It, and has freelanced for many other well-established online publications.
Updated Aug 25, 2021

There's a lot of responsibility that often falls on the sister of the bride. It's an exciting time, full of celebration, gatherings—and planning. Often, one of the bride's sister's responsibilities is to give a speech at the bridal shower. And if you happen to be the sister of the bride, you might be wondering what to say during your wedding toast. How should you write it? Should you be funny or serious? And who should you thank? It can be a lot of pressure, especially given that your sister's bridesmaids and several other wedding guests may be in attendance. But there's no need to fret. Here's your ultimate guide to giving a great bridal shower speech as the sister of the bride.

We spoke to several wedding etiquette experts, who weigh in on everything you need to know. They give speech tips, provide maid of honor speech examples—and even tell you what NOT to say in your speech.

How Long Should a Bridal Shower Speech from a Sister of the Bride Be?

If it's your first time giving a maid of honor toast, you may wonder how long your bridal shower speech should be.

We know your sister is likely very near and dear to you; you may even consider her to be one of your best friends. In this case, it's easy to want to talk for a long time in order to make your sister feel special. But experts say, short and sweet does the job—especially when you choose your words carefully. "Keep the speech short and tight. Anywhere from three to five minutes is a good timeframe," says Diane Gottsman, an international etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Texas.

While this may not sound like a lot of time, anyone experienced in public speaking knows that this can actually feel like a good amount of time, especially once you're up and in front of the group.

As for when this speech should occur, Gottsman says: "If there is a meal, before the meal is a good time. Another option is before the cake or dessert."

How to Write a Bridal Shower Speech as the Bride's Sister

Wondering how to write a maid-of-honor speech? First, think about your relationship with the bride (aka, your sister)—and what she means to you.

If you're the little sister or big sister, that may frame how you choose to address your sister. What has she taught you? And what does this new life she's about to embark on mean to you? These are good questions to ask yourself. It will set the tone for your speech as you begin to write.

At the end of the day, you're helping the bride to get excited for her big day. "It's a great way to show family support. A sister is one of the closest family members and it's a beautiful gesture," Gottsman says.

As you write, you'll also want to think about how your speech should differ from others that will take place over the course of the wedding festivities. Your bridal shower speech should feel unique to you, and be different from, say, a best man speech—or the speech that you might give at the wedding reception.

A Sister of the Bride Speech Template

When writing your wedding speech for the bridal shower, studying a few speech samples can help. Here are some templates, provided by wedding experts.

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"No one knows your sister better than you do. Honoring your sister with a heartfelt speech is a memory, which will last a lifetime. Here is a template," Gottsman says.

Hi everyone! For those of you who don't know me, my name is [your name] and I am [bride]s sister. My family is so excited to welcome [sister's new spouse] to our nest. It's been a joy to watch [bride] plan her wedding, and we are all looking forward to enjoying some exciting future adventures together. As you know, [bride] and [bride's future spouse] enjoy [activity they enjoy] and we are hoping to learn how to master the [activity] skill, as well. Thank you all for sharing your time to honor my sister today.

For another example, here is a template provided by Anne Chertoff, chief operating officer at Beaumont Etiquette.

Thank you everyone for coming to [bride]'s shower! I'm so thrilled that you can all celebrate with us. For those of you who don't know me, I'm [your name], her sister."

[Here is a good place to explain some activities you'll do during the shower and/or tell some stories about your sister.]

I want to thank [names of others who helped plan the shower] for all of their help in organizing today's celebration. [You can describe their roles if you wish to.]

Before we get back to the festivities, I'd like everyone to raise a glass to my sister, [bride], and wish her and [name of partner] all the best in their new life together. To [couple's names]!

Who Does the Sister Thank in Her Speech?

Another tip when giving your sister wedding speech at the bridal shower is to show appreciation.

"Thank you's should be given to anyone who helped plan and execute the event, such as bridesmaids and moms," Chertoff says.

Julie Blais Comeau, Chief Etiquette Officer at Etiquette Julie, agrees. She says you should remember to thank "the host for the gift of the venue, the guests for coming, and anyone else that has contributed decorations, food, beverages, decorations, etc."

But, of course, every bridal shower is unique. If there are certain people who it'd be obvious to thank in your situation, be sure to add them to your list.

How to Give a Bridal Shower Speech as the Bride's Sister

Take a deep breath and know that your speech will be great. Simply think about how much it will mean to your sister—and take into account any etiquette rules that will ensure your speech lands perfectly.

Bridal Shower Speech from the Sister Jokes

Whether you are the older or younger sister to the bride, it can be easy to want to poke a bit of fun at your sister when delivering your bridal shower speech. In order to give the perfect speech, here's what experts have to say about telling jokes during your toast.

"Generally, the answer is 'no.' But the sister knows her sister best, the family and friends' 'culture,' and their perceptions to jokes," says Blais Comeau. "Even then, some guests may not be familiar with that 'dynamic' and may be shocked by what they hear. Stick to speaking from the heart. Save your jokes for your one-on-one moments."

That said, Chertoff says: "Jokes are always appreciated if they're in good humor. A roast may not be appropriate as the guest of honor may be embarrassed and not appreciate or like those types of comments or jokes."

However, she says that you should "always err on the side of caution. If you're not sure if a joke is too bawdy or mean, don't include it."

When it comes to inside jokes between you and your sister, you can bring them up—but be sure to explain what they mean so that everyone in attendance can be in on the fun.

In sum, if you want to give a funny wedding speech, just be extra careful about what you choose to say. Practicing your speech beforehand in front of a few people you trust may be a good idea if you're unsure of how it will land.

Sister of the Bride Speech Examples

To gain inspiration for your speech, it can be a good idea to read (or listen) to a few speech examples previously given by others. Look up heartwarming speeches on YouTube, or borrow a few ideas from the examples below.

Example Number One, Courtesy of Gottsman:

Hello. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Sara, and I am Amanda's sister. I want to share how happy my family and I are about gaining a brother and son-in-law. I would like to share two special moments: One is the first time we met John. He was running late because he stopped to help a stranger fix a tire on the side of the road. I knew right away, he was a great guy! Getting to know him has been a joy and when he proposed to my sister, he made us all a part of the celebration. He has always been the guy who thinks about others first. My sister is one of my favorite people, and I have always wanted the best for her. She is a teacher who loves her students with her entire heart. She is a giver and my inspiration. I am so happy she has found her true partner and look forward to watching them grow together as a married couple.

Example Number Two:

Welcome! Thank you all for coming. My name is Emily, and I am the little sister to this lovely soon-to-be bride, Caroline. To start, I'd like to thank everyone who helped to make this day possible. Before we eat, I'd like to raise a toast to my sister and her awesome spouse-to-be, Jordan. Together, you are bound to have a bright future ahead. We're all gathered here because we love and care about the both of you—and are so happy that you found your other half! To many years of love, happiness, and joyful memories. Cheers to the soon-to-be newlyweds!

How to End the Bridal Shower Speech from the Sister

Wrapping up your bridal shower speech doesn't have to be complicated. According to Chertoff, the sister can "ask guests to raise a glass to her sister, or simply say that she loves her and how happy she is for her."

Gottsman agrees. She says to "say something upbeat, heartfelt, and even raise a glass to the bride."

Oftentimes, the ending to your speech will come naturally as you write. But, in sum, if you're struggling with what to say, raise a toast or let your sister know how much she matters to you.

What NOT to Say in Your Bridal Shower Speech

Last but not least, there are some rules about what you shouldn't say when giving a tribute to your sister at the bridal shower. Here's what experts have to say.

"Keep anything too personal out of the speech. Steer clear of mentions of ex-boyfriends, rough times in the current relationship, or private jokes," Gottsman says.

Chertoff agrees, and says to avoid any "comments about ex-relationships or arguments they have had in the past should not be included."

She adds: "A speech should be touching and include memories—but ones that are meaningful, not mean or said to settle an old score."

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