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Registering and Gifts

Invasive in-laws want to run our registry; who cares this much about other people's china?

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.

Re: Invasive in-laws want to run our registry; who cares this much about other people's china?

  • You're right on the bolded part.  You two should be registering for stuff, not his mom.  Just make sure you have a wide range of prices on your registry.  There's no sense in registering for things you don't really like, and the prices for the dishes you mentioned sound reasonable to me.  When she gives you suggestions about what you should add to the registry, say "thanks for your opinion, FI and I have picked things out" and change the subject.  

  • FancypantsamyFancypantsamy member
    100 Comments Second Anniversary
    edited November 2012
    I think you need to do two things - put the china YOU WANT in the amounts and stock that YOU WANT back on your registry and tell FI that if he doesn't stick up for you about this, you are going to seek pre-marital counceling - and then do it if he doesn't follow through. It is definitely none of her business and I'm kind of upset on your behalf. 

    It's a big red flag that it's not just the two of you making these decisions together. Do you really want your MIL calling all of the shots in your life from now on - what house you buy, who's in the delivery room when you give birth, where you vacation as a couple? This isn't just an issue of plates, this is an issue of putting your foot down. 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • I would sit down and have a serious conversation with your fiance and when the two of you decide what to do you both have to agree that, that is the end of the discussion no matter what kind of pressure anyone puts on you.  He will need to tell his mother/family the decision that the 2 of you decided on and tell them it is not up for discussion by anyone.  He does need to take your side on this issue.  His parents hold some decision making in the planning of the wedding, but they do not have any type of control about your registry in anyway.

    And if you do decide not to put ay china on your registry which is totall fine, don't be surprised if you receive it from your FMIL or other families anyway.  In my opinion, I think you should register for the original individual pieces you wanted.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_registering-gifts_invasive-in-laws-want-to-run-our-registry-who-cares-this-much-about-other-peoples-china?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:34Discussion:a404db45-ac42-4af9-8d99-6ff2f64bcf63Post:eae41215-9c62-4eae-9763-6667021cf6a9">Re: Invasive in-laws want to run our registry; who cares this much about other people's china?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I think you need to do two things - put the china YOU WANT in the amounts and stock that YOU WANT back on your registry and tell FI that if he doesn't stick up for you about this, <strong>you are going to seek pre-marital counceling</strong> - and then do it if he doesn't follow through. It is definitely none of her business and I'm kind of upset on your behalf.  It's a big red flag that it's not just the two of you making these decisions together. Do you really want your MIL calling all of the shots in your life from now on - what house you buy, who's in the delivery room when you give birth, where you vacation as a couple? This isn't just an issue of plates, this is an issue of putting your foot down. 
    Posted by Fancypantsamy[/QUOTE]

    <div>I wouldn't make premarital counseling a threat here.  Sounds like it could be a good idea, in any case, but it's not a bad thing to go to counseling, premarital or otherwise.</div>

  • I would talk to your FI about the big picture here:   you two chose a set together and when his mom piped up, he didn't stick up for your joint decision.

    Forget about threatening premarital counseling, just say, "I think we should talk with a pro before we're married so we know how to handle even bigger issues."

    This has zero to do with China and everything to do with FMIL being able to control some portion of your lives.
  • edited November 2012
    I can't put in words how relieved I am to read all of your replies. You are right that it has become about so much more than china. [...personal details redacted for privacy...] Premarital counseling is an excellent idea that I'm not sure why I haven't considered sooner.

    You've given me lots to think about; there are clearly some serious conversations we will need to have between now and next July. But mostly I'm just relieved to hear I'm not crazy.
  • This deal with the china and his mom has nothing to do with him being a golden child or whatever.  I'm a golden child (only child and my parents live about 3 hours away), but I was allowed to pick out my own china.  And my own apartment.  And FI and I are house hunting with virtually no input from my parents other than "make sure you can afford it and don't take the highest loan the bank offers you."  Not bad advice considering the housing bubble.

    This has everything to do with her specficially and his relationship with her.  I agree with PPs - if she is this crazy about china, wait until you buy a house and are spending real money on something you can't just return to the store.  You need to address her intrusiveness ASAP.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • edited November 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_registering-gifts_invasive-in-laws-want-to-run-our-registry-who-cares-this-much-about-other-peoples-china?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:34Discussion:a404db45-ac42-4af9-8d99-6ff2f64bcf63Post:b6aadbe5-91a8-45ac-b863-a6ee37523aaa">Re: Invasive in-laws want to run our registry; who cares this much about other people's china?</a>:
    [QUOTE]This deal with the china and his mom has nothing to do with him being a golden child or whatever.  I'm a golden child (only child and my parents live about 3 hours away), but I was allowed to pick out my own china.  And my own apartment.  And FI and I are house hunting with virtually no input from my parents other than "make sure you can afford it and don't take the highest loan the bank offers you."  Not bad advice considering the housing bubble. This has everything to do with her specficially and his relationship with her.  I agree with PPs - if she is this crazy about china, wait until you buy a house and are spending real money on something you can't just return to the store.  You need to address her intrusiveness ASAP.
    Posted by hoffse[/QUOTE]

    <div>You're right, that was unfounded speculation--all I really meant was that their dynamic baffles me and I have no idea where it comes from, because I can't imagine ever deferring to my parents about anything to the extent he does. They are actually very nice people otherwise, which means I tend to feel like the worst person in the world for criticizing them at all, so it helps to hear from others (with more objectivity and less personally at stake) that this is not actually how things should be.</div><div>
    </div><div>The other reason this is baffling is that we did pick out our own apartment and it was nothing like this. But we saw the listing, went to see it, and then signed a lease that day, so I guess they had no real opportunity to protest; conversely, we were fielding questions about whether our registry was online yet literally within days of getting engaged.</div>
  • I agree with all the previous posters....and your china is NOT expensive, please don't worry about it!  These are your gifts, and it's a wish list, not a requirement that everyone buy you china.  If anyone doesn't want to buy it for you, they don't have to. 
  • This is height of invasion... I think you need to talk to you MIL politely that come on, its our wedding and atleast give us a chance to decide on registry. 

    Second, give a polite hing to your MIL that Lady you are interferring too much. You better concerned with your couple matters. 

    Third, take your fiance in confidence or make some puppy faces to convince him. Forget about arguements, this make sitation worse. You better be straight forward wit your MIL and manipulative with your Fiance.

    Hope this resolves your issues. GL

  • You are definitely not crazy. H's mom got so involved in things that had nothing to do with her and he finally stood up to her and she stopped. Just because your china is "expensive" to her doesn't mean crap. No on said that anyone on her side of the family had to buy it. There may be plenty of people on your side that are more than happy to buy it for you. It's really none of her business. H didn't have the log ins for any registry things and his mom certainly didn't so I knew they wouldn't be on there changing anything (H never gave a crap what was on there). She just needs to butt out, end of story.
  • I can completely relate to what you are going through.  My FMIL is insane about china as well and was a little appalled that I do not plan to register for china.  I bought a really nice set of dishes from Pier 1 when we moved into our apartment together 2 years ago.  We do not host big dinners so I just dont see the need to ask for something I will likely never use.

    My FI and I have already had discussions about his mother's intrusive behavior.  Luckily, he does stick up for me.  But the woman never stops.  It doesn't help that he's back at home now (and I'm back with my parents) while we are waiting for our house to close.  So its just been nonstop.

    So, I feel your pain.  Your FI needs to stick up for you.  You're a team and he needs to be a team player.  I hope everything works out!
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