Tips for Pallbearers

A pallbearer is someone who is chosen, usually by a close family member of the deceased, to help carry the casket at a funeral service. Although it is not something anyone looks forward to doing, it is considered to be a high honor when asked to serve in this capacity.

Those who chose you have entrusted you with carrying their loved one to their final resting place.

It certainly is an important responsibility, but it need not overwhelm you. Here are some tips to keep in mind that will help you fulfill your role with respect and dignity.

  • Be sure to arrive at the funeral on time, or even earlier if requested.
  • Dress conservatively: a dark suit with a tie for a man and a dark dress or suit for a woman. Unless the family specifically directs you otherwise, conservative dress conveys respect.
  • Wear appropriate shoes. They should be in good condition, clean and shined. Women should avoid high heels. You may have to walk on grass, so keep that in mind.
  • Turn off your cell phone during the service.
  • Follow the instructions of the funeral director and staff.
  • Be ready for some heavy lifting. There are usually six to eight pall bearers, but a casket can be heavy.
  • Sit together with the other pallbearers. There is usually a designated place.
  • Walk carefully and slowly.
  • Stay after the funeral to offer support family members. This is the time to let them know what the deceased meant to you.