3 Things To Know About Choosing Pallbearers For A Funeral

If you are responsible for planning your loved one's funeral, and you plan on having pallbearers, here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing pallbearers.

Make Sure The Funeral Calls For Pallbearers

First off, make sure that the funeral you are planning will actually need pallbearers. 

  • Open Casket: If you are planning an open casket funeral, generally the casket will be set up by the funeral home staff before the funeral and viewing starts. 
  • Closed Casket: If you are having a closed casket funeral, you will need pallbearers to bring the casket from the viewing room to the room where the funeral is being held. 
  • Cemetery Burial: If you are planning a cemetery burial, you will need pallbearers to carry the casket from the funeral home to the vehicle used to transport the casket. You will also need the pallbearers to carry the casket from the vehicle to the final burial site. 

Open casket funerals generally do not require pallbearers, although closed casket funerals generally do. However, if you are having an open or closed casket funeral followed by a cemetery burial, you will need pallbearers to carry the casket from the funeral to the burial site. 

Make Sure You Have Enough Pallbearers

For an adult size casket, you generally will need three people on each side, for a total of six individuals, to effectively carry the casket. Most caskets have three handles on both sides for this purpose. If you have more than six individuals who want to be pallbearers, many caskets also have a handle on the back and front of the casket, which would allow up to eight pallbearers to carry the casket. 

Start Close To The Family, Then Reach Out

When it comes to asking people to be pallbearers for the funeral, start by first asking family members who were close to the person who passed away. Start by asking:

  • siblings
  • adult children
  • adult grandchildren
  • nieces
  • nephews

After you have asked family members, you can move on and ask close friends or colleagues if they would serve as pallbearers. Remember, both women and men can serve as pallbearers.

Try to take into consideration the emotional state of the individuals you ask to be pallbearers. Don't be offended if someone you asks is not in the emotional position to be a pallbearer.

If anyone you ask does not think they have the physical ability to be a pallbearer, you can see if they want to be an honorary pallbearer. Honorary pallbearers generally walk beside or behind the casket with the other pallbearers, and they don't have to physically assist with carrying the weight of the casket.

Before you start asking individuals to be pallbearers, make sure that the funeral you are planning needs them. Then, start by asking close family members before reaching out to friends to be pallbearers. Make sure you let the pallbearers know the dress code and what type of terrain they will be walking on so they can choose appropriate and safe shoes.

For more information about funeral planning, contact a professional like Clark Funeral Home Inc.