At a funeral that will be followed by a burial, it's common for a handful of specially chosen people to serve as pallbearers. These individuals' main task is to carry the casket from the front of the funeral home to a waiting vehicle at the conclusion of the service. If you're arranging a funeral for a family member who has been cremated, you may feel as though choosing pallbearers is unnecessary.
However, it's worthwhile to rethink this belief. Not only does serving in this role represent a major honor for each person you choose, but a procession that includes the cremation urn can be powerful. If you choose six "pallbearers," for example, here are some tips for assigning their roles.
The First Two
The first two pallbearers for the cremation funeral should typically carry the cremation urn. They don't need to attempt to carry it awkwardly between them. Instead, you can buy a small platform that has handles. This platform holds the urn, and the two people simply hold a handle each and walk slowly with the urn between them. It's always a good idea to have these pallbearers arrive at the funeral home well in advance of the service's start time so that they can practice this assignment.
The Middle Two
The two people who directly follow those carrying the cremation urn won't need to contribute to carrying the urn, so you'll want to think of specific things that they can carry. There's no right or wrong way to approach this role, so be creative. Sometimes, families will have special mementos from the deceased person at the front of the room near the urn. For example, you might put a person's favorite cowboy hat on display. Should you wish, these two people could carry one or two of these special items as they follow those carrying the urn.
The Last Two
If you have additional items that you want to be carried in the procession, you can feel free to assign them to the last two people of the six. However, it's not mandatory that these people carry anything. In this scenario, these two "pallbearers" can assist in an honorary capacity to mimic an honorary pallbearer who walks behind the casket but doesn't actually contribute to carrying it. These people could be children or senior citizens, but selecting virtually anyone who was important to the deceased person can be fully appropriate.
For more information, contact a company like American Cremation Society (Ridgemoor Chapels).