Selecting Pallbearers For Your Loved One’s Funeral

When planning the funeral arrangements for a loved one, you may decide that you need to select pallbearers for the services. The pallbearers typically carry the casket from the funeral home or church to the hearse and from the hearse to the gravesite. If you've never planned a funeral before, you may have questions about this part of the service. Use this guide to help you make arrangements for pallbearers at your loved one's funeral.

Relationship To The Deceased

The role of pallbearer often falls to close friends and family members. This could include the brothers or sisters of the deceased, or it could be the person's closest friends. They can be male or female, so don't feel like you have to select only males. Similarly, there is no age limit for being a pallbearer. You are free to select whomever you choose.

Physical Ability

You'll want to make sure that the people you select are physically able to lift the casket, so be sure to ask about physical ability when you are selecting pallbearers. Remember that you can also select honorary pallbearers who can walk in front of or behind the casket. This will allow you to bestow the honor upon family members who may be unable to physically perform the function.


While there is no set dress code for being a pallbearer, you may want to ask those you've chosen to wear a suit. In some cases, you may ask that they all wear the same color tie and pocket kerchief to distinguish your pallbearers from the rest of the mourners. Traditionally, pallbearers wear white gloves, but you don't have to ask them to bring their own. Your funeral home may offer gloves as part of the funeral package. The gloves are sometimes laid on the top of the casket before it is lowered into the ground, so be sure to let your pallbearers know if this is your expectation.


You may want to arrange a brief meeting with your pallbearers before everyone arrives for the funeral. This will let you discuss what is expected throughout the service so you can avoid confusion during the moving of the casket. Your funeral home director can advise your pallbearers for you, giving you more time to focus on other tasks on the day of the services. You may find that some of the people you ask to be pallbearers will decline the offer. This may be because they may feel they are too emotional to handle the responsibility, or they may be afraid of making a mistake. If someone declines, don't take it personally, and work to find someone else to provide the service. Your funeral home director may be able to offer staff to help if you don't have enough pallbearers for the funeral. For additional information and advice, contact a funeral home such as Parsippany Funeral Home Inc.