Tips for Choosing Pallbearers for the Funeral of a Loved One

Pallbearers are an important part of funerals where there is a casket present for the service. They escort the casket any time it needs to be transported during a funeral, usually carrying it into the chapel where the service is held and to the graveside after the formal service. Being a pallbearer in someone's funeral is an honor and a way to pay your respects and contribute something to their memorial service.

Narrow Down Your List Carefully

Start making a list of people in your loved one's life who should have a place of honor at their funeral. Ultimately, you want to narrow down the list to six to eight people. Depending on the type of casket you choose, you may need six to eight pallbearers. Be sure to look carefully at the casket to determine how many pallbearers you should have for that night before planning this step, then narrow down your list to your top choices.

Decide Whether to Have Honorary Pallbearers

To be a pallbearer at a funeral, the person needs to have a certain level of strength and physical fitness. Otherwise, someone could injure themselves or otherwise draw attention to themselves at the funeral. If you know of someone who was very close to the deceased but who is not up for the physical demands of being a pallbearer, you may choose to designate honorary pallbearers. You can invite any number of people to be honorary pallbearers, yet it's also okay if you just have one. The honorary pallbearer will likely walk by the casket and stand either in front or behind it.

Have an In-Depth Talk with Your Preferred Pallbearers

Being a pallbearer is an honor, but it also entails some responsibility and strength that the potential pallbearer needs to know. Make sure they know exactly what will be expected of them if they choose to take on being a pallbearer, be sure they know where to go when they arrive at the funeral, and what they should do during the rest of the funeral services. 

Finally, keep in mind that the tradition of having pallbearers is one that most people honor at a funeral. These tips should help you pick the right pallbearers to welcome at your loved one's funeral. It is a good idea to choose one or two extra pallbearers just in case one of your pallbearers cannot attend the event, but you may not choose to notify them that they are "back-up" pallbearers unless their services are needed.