With the funeral typically scheduled just days after a death, family members often rush to assemble a funeral display table. Standard display tables include a portrait of the deceased and a floral arrangement. In spite of the limited time, it is possible to create a meaningful display to celebrate and honour the life of the deceased.
A portrait of the departed is the focal point of the funeral display table. Customise the portrait by adding interesting matting around the picture that reflects the personality of the departed. For example, if the person was from Hawaii, tropical print matting (made of fabric) might be appropriate. If he was an avid sports fan, he might appreciate matting that depicts his favourite team's colours.
Digital frames make it possible to download a number of photographs onto the device. Instead of using a traditional frame for photographs, download images onto a digital frame, and play them as a slide show. If the photographs aren't digital images, take them to the photo centre and have them scanned, or scan the photographs on a home scanner. Digital frames come in a variety of sizes, and some require an electrical socket, while others use batteries. If there isn't an electrical socket near the display table, select a battery-operated digital frame.
Assembling an attractive photo scrapbook for the display table is an overwhelming task for the last minute. One way to quickly create a photo album appropriate for the display table is to utilise pre-existing photo albums, created by family members and friends. Borrow the albums and have select pages photocopied at a copy store, using a colour copier and photo quality paper. Insert the photo pages into acid-free photo protectors, and put the filled page protectors into a three-ring binder. Choose a binder that has a plastic front covering, for adding cover art. Design a decorative cover for the binder, depicting the departed's life, and slip it into the plastic covering over the front of the binder. Place the binder on the funeral display table.
Add samples of the departed's creations or passions on or by the funeral display table. If she was an artist, include samples of her artwork. If he was an author, display copies of his novels or magazine clippings. Plaques, trophies, ribbons or other awards add depth to the display. A flower arrangement is usually included on the funeral display table, placed at the back of the table. When candles are included on the table, small candles are generally placed in front of the departed's photograph, while tall candles are placed to the side of the portrait.
A video or slide show, made up of a collection of the departed's photographs, or excerpts from home movies, is a way to tell the story of the person's life. Play the slide show or video on a computer laptop, and set the laptop on the funeral display table. If none of the family members or close friends has the skill to create the slide show or video, ask the funeral home if they can recommend someone in the area. Funeral homes typically have people they recommend to produce slide shows, used as backdrops to the service. Play a copy of the slide show or video used as a backdrop to the service on a laptop at the funeral display table.