The newlyweds, still in their wedding finery, stepped over broken glass and rubble into their honeymoon suite _ a room in the groom's family home, badly damaged by tank shells during Israel's war on Gaza's Hamas rulers.
The room is small, but has a real bed, rather than mattresses spread on the floor, and offers rare privacy in a house crammed with two dozen relatives taking up the few areas clear of debris and shards.
"I am happy, no doubt, but it's not the feeling that I might have felt before the war," said Haitham Attar, 26, after escorting his bride, Reem Abu Leila, 24, into her new home. In keeping with tradition, she was covered head to toe by a hooded cloak over her white wedding dress, shielding her from view.
The bittersweet story of their wedding day provided a glimpse into the quest of Gazans for normalcy as the world begins efforts to rebuild after three weeks of war.
The wedding was to take place Jan. 15. But Israel's military offensive was going full force, and the town near Israel's border, a frequent launching ground for militants' rockets, was hit hard.
Tank shells smashed through the front walls of the Attars' two-story home, devastating the room Attar had prepared for himself and his bride.
Now, after a delayed ceremony, the couple's honeymoon will end quickly.
Their new room belongs to Attar's parents, Yousef and Fatima, who moved out to give the newlyweds some space after the wedding. But the parents will want to return eventually, and then the couple will have to sleep on mattresses in the communal area or move into a nearby tent camp, where one of the groom's brothers and his pregnant wife and toddler have made their home.
Attar, who earns 1,000 shekels ($235, 184 euros) a month as an elementary school secretary, said apartments for rent in his price range are not available.
The war destroyed or damaged some 15,000 houses. Many displaced people moved in with relatives or rented apartments. Many homeowners have collected emergency aid from the Hamas government or the United Nations, but the Attars say they haven't received aid.
Despite the lack of a proper home, Attar didn't want to put the wedding off any longer.
So on Sunday, Attar and his male friends and relatives held a bachelor party outside the tent camp while the bride and the women of both families danced in the courtyard outside her family home. At one point, Attar joined the women's celebration and danced with his bride, who studies Arabic at a Gaza university.
Even though the bride's home is intact, it is crowded, and tradition prevents the couple from living there. The bride must always move in with the husband's family.
On Monday afternoon, Attar's family assembled in the tent camp. The men sat on rows of plastic chairs, and the women gathered in the largest tent, dancing, clapping and beating drums. Attar arrived, dressed in a dark suit.
From there, the group of about 100 men and women walked through town to the bride's house, several hundred yards away. The men marched in front, chanting traditional wedding rhymes. They took turns carrying the groom on their shoulders. The women followed, led by the groom's mother.
At the bride's house, blankets hanging from pillars blocked the courtyard from view. There, the bride danced in her white, sleeveless wedding dress, with only women allowed to see her. For decoration, bits of white tissue and balloons were tied to ropes crisscrossing the courtyard.
The groom and the other men sat on the other side of the blankets, smoking and listening to the music booming from huge loudspeakers. A vendor sold treats to excited children.
Near the end, the groom was allowed to enter the courtyard. He handed the bride her dowry of gold _ a ring, a necklace and several bracelets. A yellow taxi pulled up for the couple.
After a short drive, they arrived. The bride clutched her bouquet of fake white flowers and walked across what was once the front yard. Attar slightly lifted the bride's hoop skirt so it wouldn't get dirty as the two stepped over rubble and glass.
"Life must continue," Attar said. "I thought to get married and then to think about the future. The future and fate are known only to God, but hope is there."