So, we registered for some china, and my soon-to-be in-laws are taking exception to it on these grounds:
1. It is in individual pieces, not place settings.
2. It is too expensive.
To which we have countered,
1. The china we like is not sold in five-piece settings at Macy's, which we chose because it is my in-laws' preferred registry provider; moreover, we have neither use nor storage space for eight to 12 matching coffee cups and saucers.
2. It is $24 for a dinner plate, $22 for a salad plate, and $22 for a bowl. It is objectively not that expensive. (For the record, the norm in his family is to spend $100+ on wedding gifts; most of the items on our registry cost less than that.)
We thought that would be the end of it, but weeks later my mother-in-law is still emailing my fiance links to five-piece settings in the $35 to $40 range, telling all his aunts (in front of my best friend while I'm in the fitting room trying on dresses, naively thinking we are having a nice bonding moment) that I'm fixated on inappropriately expensive china--but never once mentioning to me, directly, that she finds anything about our registry objectionable.
Hearing all this second-hand, I take everything off the registry and ask my fiance to tell her we aren't registering for china, our IKEA set is fine. Again, I think this will be the end of it; we can always upgrade on our own terms later. But, she says, your wedding is the perfect time to assemble a full set of china! Not registering for any makes no sense!
He comes back fully convinced that we should register for the latest set she sent us, since it's "close enough" to what we wanted in the first place (read: it is plain white without any ornamentation, so exactly like off-white mid-century modern). He acknowledges that the arguments against our preferred china make no sense, but says he hadn't realized what a problem this is for his parents and thinks we should concede the argument.
Never mind that we'll be the ones actually eating off this china for the next however many decades.
Never mind that there are a hundred other gifts on our registry that guests can choose from if the china we've selected offends them--or don't give us a gift, for all I care. I'll take nothing over a gift I actively don't want.
Never mind, above all, that as an independent adult he needs to be able to say no to his mom.
I've searched wedding blogs and message boards for anything resembling this situation, but I've come up with nothing. Is it normal for relatives to be this invested in a couple's registry? Is there any polite way to tell them, dudes, furnish your own house; let us furnish ours? And am I wrong to expect more from my fiance in setting boundaries with his parents? They may be paying for part of our reception, but surely that gives them no ownership of the registry?
I apologize for length, and also if any part of this sounds terse or judgmental. This china situation has been ongoing for weeks, and I am honestly at a loss. I wish we could just have a proper argument about it and move on (the way it would be done in my family, if anyone cared that deeply about other people's china patterns); I don't want this passive-aggression to drag out any longer.