You can provission the devices with Apple Configurator and do this. Apple Configurator will set the lockscreen and then you can load apps and restore the app icon placement and wallpaper with a backup.
However... They can change any of this and the apps will be tied to the Apple ID you used to install them.
Not from Configurator. There are other MDM solutions available, including in OS X Server, that can push out changes across a network, but I don't know of any you could set up without having the iPads back in hand for at least a short while.
With ALL MDM's you can't set the lock screen, restore a backup (icon placement), or set the wallpaper. With some MDM's (not OS X Server and Profile Manager) You can install apps but this require user intervention, it will ask for the user Apple ID and password.
So they would need to come back and be teathered.