Pre-K Graduation and Wedding Same Day

Updated on April 30, 2010
L.S. asks from North Miami Beach, FL
21 answers

Just found out that my son's prek graduation is the same day as my sister-in-laws wedding. Some background:
My son is very nervous about starting kindergarten at a new school, so having this transitional event is really important. He generally has anxiety when put into unfamiliar situations and does not even want to go to camp if it is not at his preschool. Before realizing the events are both days, he already said he does not want to go to the wedding.
Now the wedding: sister in law (husband's only sibling) is having it in NY coming from the UK--very small, about 16 people. Our son is suppose to be a page, she has already bought him a suit to wear. When she asked about him being in the wedding (about 1 yr ago) he was very social (I was pregnant) and I really thought nothing of it....we still lived in NY then. I have not told him he is in the wedding party, as I doubt he will be able to "perform"-which I am sure will be disspoint her, but how do you force a 5 yr old to walk down the aisle if he refuses. So, I know that a wedding is the bigger event, but I can not help thinking that this will be so stressful for him. Not only missing his graduation, but having to prepare for it, and then having to fly to NY (from Miami) to go to a wedding and see relatives he hardly knows. Really torn, I know what I want to do, but also realize that my in-laws will resent me forever if I leave him home to attend with the grandparents. We have 2 (2 1/2 yrs old and 3 months) other children we could take to the wedding. To clarify, we are pretty strict with rules, wearing clothes to school and going to the hospital if need be---as wedding is a nice to go to event; I would never force anyone (adult or child) to attend if they had major reservations---especially a child who is less likely to be able to hide their anxiety. I am about email my sil, but nervous she will freak, this is certainly not something she wants to deal with 4 weeks before he!

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So What Happened?

So we all went to the wedding and skipped the graduation. Instead I held a party at the school the day before last day of class. I ordered caps that the kids decorated, we had cupcakes and the kids all recreated the show we missed. They (tried) to sing all the songs they sang and did a great job. I was really touched that the teachers did that for us. My son will never know the difference. The big push for the kids at the wedding, was for pictures, after that no one was much interested in having them around. I do not regret going, however I know my son's graduation would have been a real memory for me. It all depends on what you hold dearer. Next time, I am not going to miss a graduation for a wedding, unless it is for one of my children.

More Answers



answers from Kansas City on

I haven't read all of your responses, so forgive me if I repeat. I totally understand your concerns. I really do, as I have a very anxious child myself. That said, this is your husband's only sibling. What kind of message do you want to send to your son? In many families, a wedding of a close family member is TERRIBLY IMPORTANT!! If this is the case in your family, you should go to the wedding and take him with you. I cannot imagine my husband not attending a sibling's wedding. It is unthinkable to me.

Let's face it, Pre-K graduations are fun and cute, but how many kids don't really make it there or have to really reach deep down to achieve this goal? It just isn't the same kind of achievment as high school or college graduation, and should not be treated as such. That is not to say that it is not important, but it just isn't on the same level.

Besides, do you really feel that going through this ceremony is going to make going to Kindergarten any easier for an anxious child? It might be enjoyable--but it will not alleviate any fears/concerns about Kindergarten.

As to him participating in the wedding---have him try. If it doesn't work out, everyone will understand. While it might be a bad day for him, it truly won't cause him lifelong trauma, and you have definitely taught him a lesson about priorities and thinking of others. Good luck and have fun whatever you decide.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Your DS will graduate from elementary school, middle school, high school hopefully college and maybe even a post secondary degree. Each graduation becoming that much more important. Frankly I'm not into a Kinder "graduation" I think it's as dumb as can be, that's just my humble opinion. The kid has nothing to *really* deserve a "graduation", not like a senior in HS or a senior in College. And I say this as a mom who has a DD "graduating" kinder this month too.

The wedding is much more important for familial harmony, showing and demonstrating respect for traditions and showing your DS the world does not revolve around him. And with only 16 people in attendance, you **will** be missed. Go to the wedding and make the best of it.

On another note: what's the underlying reason you've come up with a bunch of excuses NOT to go? Maybe be more honest about why you don't want to attend it might change the conversation.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

A high school or college graduation would be an issue. Pre-K? He's just going on to Kindergarten. The whole thing will probably last 30 minutes (if they're smart). I might be the only one with this opinion, but I think all the graduations from everything are overdone. There's pre-school, pre-k, kindergarten, 8th grade and then high school. I was so over graduations by the time my older daughter got to high school. I wouldn't even think twice about this one if I were you. I'd go to the family wedding. Families are so much more important than a group of kids in a pre-k class. He can still wear his cool suit but if he's not comfortable performing his duties, then he can sit quietly with you. You could tell your SIL there might be that issue and ask how she wants to deal with it. Because sometimes little kids in weddings don't do well. Also, about "forcing" him to attend if he has reservations... He's 5 right? What reservations can he have about a wedding? Has he been to a lot where he was made uncomfortable? Make this a fun thing for him. Encourage him, be positive and happy about it -- look forward to it with him and your family. Look at it as an adventure with him (and your other kids). I don't think there should be this much angst over a little boy going to a wedding.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I had 8 kids and each had various graduations and special events.

Your sister in law's wedding is so much more important, I'm surprised it is even a question. In a day or so your son will have completely forgotten about what happened at the Pre K (!!!) graduation, not so with your sister in law.

If you can't control your 5 year old enough to get him to walk down the isle, how are you going to discipline him when he is 15?

Your son has said he doesn't want to go to the wedding. If he said he didn't want to wear clothes would you send him to school nude? If he didn't want to go to the hospital when he had a broken bone would you let him stay home?

When you go to the store and he wants a toy or misbehaves do you buy him the toy so he'll be good? If you and your Husband don't make the rules in your home, and enforce them, you'll raise a monster and YOU will be miserable when he's a teenager.

I had to deal with numersous grownups that were allowed to make their own rules when they were kids. When I was working, my co-workers and I called the parents that didn't discipline and control their kids, job security.

Good luck to you and I hope you and your family enjoy your sister-in-law's wedding.
(Retired prision guard)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I say skip the graduation and go to the wedding. I realize some kids do better with change than others, but honestly change and spontaneity are a part of life. While I will make allowances for a child that needs a schedule (as most kids do) I don't believe in completely bending everything around a child that is inflexible. I say this because it sounds to me like you are feeding into his anxieties and planning around them--I think that enforces his fear of change. I would adopt more of a go with the flow attitude especially with your son as some of it will rub off on him. Kids are very in tune to how their parents react to situations and they take their cue from you. Stop worrying about all this stuff before it even happens, trust me your little guy picks up on your stress. Just take the attitude that the wedding and trip will be fun and its no big deal. If he "performs" at the wedding, fine. If he doesn't want to-then fine too. If he is this set in his ways at 5--trust me that life is gonna be pretty hard on him. Plans change, things happen--you can't protect him from everything. You sound like a great, caring mom--just let go a little with trying to control the situation and anticipating how your son will react. If you act like everything is going to be great--he should follow suit. Best of luck!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I say skip the graduation. Although my son's preschool is having a graduation ceremony, I think it's ridiculous. Unless he's going to a year-round school, a ceremony in June probably will not prepare him as well as a few trips to his new school during the summer months.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I remember exactly how you are feeling.. But there are times when you need to take a step back and look at the whole picture.

The wedding is more important than the Prek ceremony.
These people are getting MARRIED! I know it all seems so important right now, but in the long run the Wedding is the more important to the ENTIRE family.

Maybe host a small celebration for your sons prek later in the summer before school starts. We did this and it was very comforting for the kids and parents. We met at a park one afternoon and had a small picnic. ..We parents realized we were the ones more nervous about or kids attending kindergarten than our kids were!

I agree about visiting the school grounds of his new elementary..Play on the playground this summer. Make the walk to the school in the mornings just for fun. Try to find out if there is a parent there already with children attending the school that could match you up with existing families with upcoming kindergartners this fall.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Spartanburg on

What will you regret most missing? I treasure the memory of my little one at her kindergarten graduation. She was so beautiful walking down the aisle in her white dress and standing with her classmates as she she received her certificate and awards. My first two were home schooled for kindergarten, and although I am glad I did that for them, I kinda hate that they did not have a ceremony to mark the event.

It sounds that he would be more comfortable at his graduation.

And I know it sounds cruel, but isn't the divorce rate over 50%? The wedding may just be a party celebrating the beginning of the end. The preschool graduation marks an end to babyhood and a stepping off into the life of being a big boy.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

pre-k graduation is months before he starts kindergarten. at his age he will all have forgotten about that graduation, and still have anxieties about starting kindergarten, if he is an anxious child.
it sounds to me you don't want him to go for whatever reasons. the SIL already bought him the suit. this is an honor to you for she is wanting your son to be a part of the ceremony.
there are things that everyone has to go to, and things you can miss out on, and not be rude about it. missing his aunt's wedding is one thing he should not do or be allowed to do. missing pre-k graduation (wow, when did these start anyhow?), is something he should miss due to the wedding. just my opinion, but i still say you listed so many reasons as to why you don't want to do it, yet i don't think you're being completely honest. don't ruin your SIL's wedding. this is one factor she should not be bothered with at this point. wedding preparations as stressful as it is.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I would bet if you ask the teacher that they are having a rehersal of this every day. There is a chance you could attend it the last rehersal day. Maybe ask the teacher to tell the kids that she knows some won't be there the next day and that there is going to be a "real" rehersal complete with refreshments (which you provide) for the class. then on the way home tell your son about the wedding. if he truely freaks then maybe she still has time to send the suit back and get her money back for it. your son can stay with a sitter while you go. good luck

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I agree with Sherry. Attend a practice and take a tray of cookies/cupcakes. Your son won't know that its not the real thing.

I remember my son's pre-K graduation. My hubby and I went. Just the 2 of us with our little disposable camera. We were shocked!! Every other kid there had 2 sets of grandparents, all sisters/brothers, aunts/uncles. Everyone had camcorders. There was fighting over the best place to stand....I looked at hubby, 'Are we in the right place?' Graduation took 10m, cake and punch after. The kids did get to wear a cap and gown, but the school presented each kid with a professional pic that had been taken a month earlier during spring pics.

As for the wedding, I would call your SIL and ask her to try and find someone else who is local to NY. Depending on when the flights are, you could use the possiblity that the plane is delayed/cancelled, let her know that you are concerned that he may not feel like wanting to walk, etc. Maybe she could find someone a bit older? Wouldn't want to cause a problem on her day, blah, blah, blah...... Put it in the pretense of keeping the focus on her and BIL and their day.

These things happen all the time. She should have a backup plan. The last wedding I went to, they had the boys father walk with him down the aisle.

Good luck

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Ok this may seem crazy but, most Pre-K graduations are in the morning. Depending on what time the wedding is can you fly up after? Maybe you will miss the ceremony but will be there for the reception? Call SIL tell her what the deal is and yes a wedding is a big deal but graduating from Pre-K is a big deal to your son and aslo tell her the actuality that he will stroll down the aisle is pretty much null and void. Offer to re-emberse her for the suit and call it a day. If this isn't possible because of timing and logistics then send hubby w/ the 2 kids to the wedding and you stay for your sons graduation. Very tricky situation. Just remember you can not please all of the people all of the time.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

You have so many answers already but I thought I had a slightly different take on things.

How are you helping you son who was once confident get over his anxieties and become confident again? Encouraging him to face his fears and not give in to them is the best thing you can do for him. Helping him deal directly with his anxieties, while understand his feelings and developing strategies for coping with his anxiety is a wonderful legacy to give him.

While you wouldn't force anyone to go to a "nice" event, a wedding is so much more than that. It is the combining of families, why is it alright for a five year old to pick and choose where they can and can not go. In life we have to do and go places we would really rather not to but isn't it important to learn how to make the most of it afterall this is your husband's only sister and you did make a commitment a year ago to attend with son in tow.

I hope I wasn't harsh and I hope this is helpful to you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I would not force him to be in the wedding, but I would attend the wedding. I think the ideas of having a pre-k gathering during the summer, and visiting the new school are both great. One of my sons has a difficult time with transitions as well, and I don't think a graduation ceremony helped him nearly as much as familiarizing himself with each new school/classroom did. I hope the situation works out well whatever you decide to do.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

WEDDING=FAMILY, no excuses

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Did SIL ask you if your son would be or wanted to be in the wedding? If she did, and you agreed to that plan, I think you should nicely apologize to her, while explaining things from his perspective (missing preschool graduation, general anxiety, the fact that he has expressed to you that he DOES NOT want to do it, etc), tell her you're concerned his reluctance would put a damper on her day if you tried to force him and he acted out (after all, he is a small child), offer to reimburse her for the suit, and perhaps suggest someone else (maybe a bit older child who is more excited about the honor) fill in for him. It is possible, she will be just fine with that plan, she may have asked him out of obligation, and out of not wanting to leave him out. She may be even appreciate your concern for her ceremony going smoothly. If you have grandparents willing to watch him and celebrate his preschool graduation, and HE is also excited about having grandma and grandpa to share that special time with him, I would leave him with them and take the rest of your family to the wedding. Your in-laws may resent you anyway if you forced him to go, and he acted miserably.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

If I were in that situation and you were willing to leave him with his grandparents, I would let him stay for his gradation. It is a huge milestone for him and wouldn't want him to miss it.

Good luck with your decision!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on



answers from Milwaukee on

after reading your situation i was stumped but then reading some of the answers i think a agree with jessica Z's answer. let your son stay for his day and you go ahead for yours. explain to him what you are planning on doing and oh well to the relatives that will be dissapointed by not seeing your son!!!!!



answers from New York on

Hi Larisa,

It looks like you got lots of different advice. I wish you luck in deciding what to do. This is a hard situation. As a proud mama myself, I would be upset if I had to miss my daughters' preK graduation. That's just me. I am a part of EVERYTHING my kids do. And of course extended family and weddings are important too. I'm sure it's upsetting that you have to choose. It's just too bad about the timing of everything. It seems like either way, you will feel a loss. Do what's best for your family in the long run and know that this will pass and you will have many more adventures to face and conquer. I hope family members can become mindful to communicate with each other and think about the future and things like graduation in May/June, etc. I wish you the best. AM



answers from New York on

it might be late but i would tell her you deceided not to fly with all the kids to much for them and you financially ect. Go without them if you have someone who could watch them at home as for his graduation ar e you will to miss that. tough call but you must atten the wedding. what does your husband think about all this? good luck

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