Two brothers were found "home alone" by police in Bradford after the younger boy told his teacher that their mum had gone to France.
The single mother, in her 30s, had flown to Paris to make arrangements for her proposed wedding to a man she had met over the internet and had left the two boys, aged six and 11, with some cash and "a large pan of soup" for their tea.
In March the woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the two boys, went to Manchester Airport where she boarded a flight to Paris after leaving the youngsters "home alone" at 6am.
Prosecutor Philip Adams told Bradford Crown Court today that the mother intended to fly back the next day, but would not have arrived home until about midnight.
After the six-year told a teacher the school tried unsuccessfully to contact their mother when his older brother turned up to collect him.
Mr Adams said the boys were allowed to go, but the school reported its concerns to the police and it was after 9pm that night when officers went to the address.
The boys were placed in social services accommodation overnight and the mother was contacted by a friend.
The court heard that she flew back early the next day and was arrested from her home at lunchtime.
She explained in her interview how she had travelled to Paris to make arrangements to marry and had wanted the boys to stay with a friend.
When the older boy refused to go she was "persuaded" by him that they would be fine at home.
The mother had been in contact by telephone with the boys and the court heard that she had left a large pan of soup for their tea that evening together with some money if it was needed.
The defendant, who admitted two charges of child neglect, was sentenced to six months in jail but the prison term was suspended for a year.
Her lawyer Tom Rushbrooke said the woman now realised that she had made a terrible mistake and the boys had only been allowed to go back to live with her last week.
He said the 11-year-old boy was "exceedingly bright" and more advanced in being able to look after himself.
Mr Rushbrooke said that was how the woman herself had been brought up and in all other respects she was a very caring mother.
He said his client had been working with social services while the boys were in foster care and she was still hoping that the marriage would take place in France.
Judge Robert Bartfield it was a serious case of neglect and the boys were "too young" to be left alone overnight.
"The purpose of your trip to France was to begin arranagements for your wedding to a man whom you met over the internet and I do understand how anxious you were as a single mother to find a new partner," the judge told the woman.
"Nonetheless you put the boys in significant danger by leaving them alone because however advanced your 11-year-old is he is not of an age were he can be left to look after himself and his younger brother."
Judge Bartfield said the case was different from those were people went to holiday destinations leaving small children behind and fortunately no harm was done.
"You had the experience yourself of being left alone when you were very young," he told the mother.
"As Mr Rushbrooke points out that's not an experience you should have wished to visit on your own sons and you have to understand that to leave children of that age alone in our culture and our country is simply not acceptable."
The judge said the fact that the boys had recently been returned to their mother had persuaded him not to impose an immediate jail sentence.
He said if the mother was sent to custody for a number of weeks that could have very destructive impact on the children.
In addition to the suspended jail sentence the mother must also comply with a 25-day rehabilitation activity requirement.