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How To Choose Pallbearers

Published: January 10, 2022

When planning a funeral, if there will be an open casket, you’ll need to plan who will be the pallbearers. Usually that is around 6 to 8 people, depending on the casket's design. Pallbearers are those who help carry the casket at the funeral. During an open casket funeral, the casket will already be set up by the funeral staff. If you will be having a cemetery burial after the service, the pallbearers will carry the casket to the hearse to be transported to the cemetery.

Being chosen to be a pallbearer is an honor, but how do you choose who it will be?

Who can be pallbearers

It’s important to put into thought who will be the pallbearers. They can be men or women and are often family members or close friends. Traditionally, since there are six handles on the coffin, there are generally six pallbearers. Depending on the design and size of the casket will depend on how many pallbearers you need.

Pallbearers can be siblings, grown children, grown grandchildren, nieces and nephews, close friends, or even colleagues.

Consider physical ability

Carrying a casket is not easy, it’s heavy. When deciding on your pallbearers, consider their physical ability, that they are able to carry the casket without difficulty. It is also best to ask people who are good at keeping their emotions together as it is an emotional task for both pallbearers and family.

Honorary Pallbearers

If you have someone who you want to be a pallbearer, but they are not physically able to carry the casket you can make those people “honorary pallbearers” who walk alongside or behind the casket.

Once you have decided who you will choose to be the pallbearers, you’ll need to ask them if they would like to do it. Some people might be surprised to be asked or might have some doubt that they can do it. If they are unable to or choose not to, thank them, and don’t put too much pressure on the situation. Everyone deals with grief in their own way.

After the funeral, it’s best etiquette to send thank you cards to those who were the pallbearers. It can be a short letter thanking them for their service and how much it meant to the family for them accepting the task.


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