Marilyn, either way of addressing the envelope is appropriate, but the “Mr. and Mrs. George Brown” is more common. Unless it is common knowledge that Mr. Brown did not get along with his father-in-law, assume he is in mourning as well.
Many people also wonder if it is OK to send condolence cards to those who are not related to the deceased, and the answer is yes. A condolence card is always appreciated by anyone — blood relative or not — who is close to the deceased.
Some tips for what to say in a sympathy card.
- Always try to give your card as soon as you hear about the death. Even if you only hear of the funeral a year later, a sympathy card is always appreciated.
- Understand you don’t need to write a novel. A line or two is fine. People in mourning may not have the mental capacity to read a long card anyway, so keeping things simple works for everyone.
- Keep in mind, that, while you knew the deceased, his or her relatives may not know you. Try to include a line or two about how you know the person who died.
“Mr. Smith was a client of my accounting practice”
“Dave was someone I played cards with at the senior center”
“I sang with Olga in the church choir”.
- If you were a personal friend of the deceased, try to include a happy memory you had together.
“David Smith was a good friend of mine with whom I played golf. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he finally hit his hole in one. I’m very sorry for your loss, he will be dearly missed.”
- Never say something along the lines of “I know how you feel.” Everyone feels differently. Saying “Maybe it was their time to go” or “they had a long life” is also a no-no.
Anyway, Marilyn, I hope this helps. Here is our selection of sympathy cards.