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I hate when people do that to me, so i can relate to how you feel. My fiance and I are going to have an outdoor wedding on the river landing in the middle of august and everyone keeps telling us that it is going to be a bad idea because of the possibility of rain and other mishaps. I just was calm about it and told them that it is my wedding and that im the one paying for everything. I also told them that their input is greatly appriciated but told where and how my wedding should be is unacceptable and wont be tolerated and that if they think that having the ceremony outside is a bad idea due to the possibility of rain then they dont have to come to the ceremony and only come to the reception if they would like, although it would be a bummer. But dont let people including your FMIL to dictate how your wedding should be. The way I see it is that she already got married and had her wedding the way that she wanted it and if you want your weddidng to be classy then so be it because it is YOUR day, YOUR wedding and YOUR life and you do it how you want.
To all the people that asked me how much are spending, what we are doing, etc...that would have opportunity to critisize I have answered:"Our wedding is a celebration of us becoming a married couple and it is the largest party I'm ever going to have the priviledge of throwing. Although there are always ways to cut corners, we have decided on a modest celebration and we can't wait to suprise you, on our day, with the details."ALSO, unless FMIL is paying, she doesn't even need to know...my FMILs (two of them) are completely disjointed from the process and have no hand in our wedding day.You can also make a contrasting statements, but I would advise against them becuase they'll provoke FMIL more. i.e.-"Well, we're getting married in the backyard, so I want china." 'Cause then FMIL can start back in.Keep it vague, keep it distant. Maybe giving her a project so she doesn't feel so left-out of her sons' life?i.e.- Helping assemble wedding favors, picking up things from your vendors, etc...
As much as her approach is wrong, you can also get disposeable plates that look like exactly like china as well. And they're plastic so they won't crumble like paper plates either.Chinet makes them. Cheaper than renting.(Just an option u can consider.)Good luck to you.