Choosing Pallbearers and Ushers


Pallbearers carry or accompany the casket during a funeral service. The family of the honoree usually selects six people to serve in this capacity. Close friends, business associates, and immediate family members can serve as pallbearers. Though traditionally pallbearers have been men, women are also being asked to serve. It is considered a great honor. Pallbearers accompany the casket in and out of the church, temple, or place of worship.

An honorary pallbearer is a good friend of the honoree who may no longer be able to perform the task of lifting and carrying a casket. Because they held a special place in the life of the honoree, they hold a special place in the funeral ceremony.

The funeral home may also provide pallbearers, or help with the handling and carrying of the casket.


Ushers help seat guests at a funeral service. They direct people to their seats, filling the front row first (remember, the very front seats or pews on the right side are reserved and marked for the family; the left for the honorary pallbearers and ushers).

Ushers are usually friends or relatives of the honoree; nephews and nieces; godchildren; even office colleagues. For someone who held a political office, interns could usher. For a judge, law clerks. For a physician, their medical residents.

It is suggested you ask family and friends ahead of time (either while they are visiting or with a phone call) to serve as a pallbearer or usher.

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Celebrating a Life: Planning Memorial Services and Other Creative Remembrances
By Faith Moore
Faith Moore