Collins Funeral Home Norwalk CT

Instructions For Pallbearers

General Tips:

  • Dress in a simple dark suit or dress. The more conservative, the better. Avoid colorful, brash outfits.
  • Follow the verbal directions of the funeral director. Whenever unsure, move slowly and reverently and look to the funeral director for cues.
  • Walk slowly and steadily, making sure to gauge the tempo of the other pallbearers as you carry the casket
  • Be alert and make your way to the hearse promptly after each stop.
When in doubt, look to the director!

The Order Of Things:

Of course each funeral is unique, however, this step-by-step guide outlines the procedures we usually follow during our services:

1. As the family says their final farewells at the funeral home, the pallbearers will be asked to wait outside the chapel until the family has exited.

2. When the family leaves, the pallbearers will be ushered in to lift the casket onto a wheeled device called a “church truck” and roll the casket out of the building to the hearse.

3. At the hearse, the pallbearers will lift the casket together and place it in the back of the hearse.

4. The pallbearers will then make their way to their vehicle(s) for the procession. If there is a designated pallbearer car, it will precede the hearse otherwise all cars follow the hearse.

5. If the procession is going to a place of worship, once we arrive, the pallbearers will congregate behind the hearse and carry the casket to a church truck placed at the entrance.

6. Christian clergy will usually meet the funeral party at the entrance, perform a brief blessing, and then the pall (a ceremonial covering) will be placed upon the casket.

7. We will then proceed following the clergy to the front of the building. Space allowing, the pallbearers will walk beside the casket. If the aisle is too narrow, you will precede the casket which will be brought in by the funeral directors.

8. During the service, the pallbearers will either sit together (usually in the front, right row), or be seated with their families.

9. At the end of the service, the funeral director will come to the casket at the front of the building and will direct the pallbearers back to the entrance in the same manner as they entered.

10. There will often be a final blessing exiting to place of worship and then the pallbearers will lift up the casket and carry it to the hearse.

11. At the cemetery the pallbearers will once again congregate behind the hearse. They will carry out the casket and place it upon a lowering device over the grave. During this step, it is very important to watch your footing as the cemetery grounds can be soft or uneven. Step carefully up and around the lowering device.

12. Finally, the pallbearers will usually be instructed to line up as an honor guard on the far side of the casket (opposite the family). You may be given a flower and at the conclusion of the ceremony, and asked to place the flower upon the casket before it is lowered into the grave.