BG here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=124518.0
I am pretty sure MIL is trying to make this a shower in everything but name. Main question: does that fear seem reasonable? LordL thinks some of my suspicion isn't warranted. I think he is tired of having to stand up to his mother all the time and would rather let her have her way than fight it, even though he knows that's bad in the long run.
I am worried that if my parents come and I show up and there are gifts and it's a shower I'm going to get stuck grinning and bearing it for their sake.
Your fear is quite reasonable, and a very logical conclusion.
I remember your original thread, and thought at that time that MIL was still plotting, and would likely win if you and DF attend the reunion at all.
I know that you really want to attend the reunion. If you go, however, be prepared to smile and thank everyone for the lovely gifts. MIL is going to do exactly what she @#$%^ well pleases.
I don't think that it would be trash talking to alert your friends and relatives to her scheming. You can do this in a matter of fact way, and tell them that you are not going to be at the reunion, anyway.
Actually, if your DF is willing, you could tell MIL and everyone that you are not going to the reunion. Then you could get a hotel room nearby and show up for a half day or so and see everyone. [Between meal times, so as not to impose on the food providers.]
The problem with your going to the reunion at all, though, in addition to the shower thing, is the issue of MIL inviting people to the wedding. I think it would be very uncomfortable for you to be in a group of DF's relatives and have MIL chat about the wedding in front of people that you are not planning to invite. From what you've written, it seems like she is planning to put pressure on you at the reunion to invite people that she wants to be there.