Participants in the wedding in Yavneh on Monday night recalled the horrors from the moment when the massive chandelier crashed to the floor, bringing a jolting end to the celebrations, murdering 54-year-old Aviva Hayon and wounding 21 others.
Hayon was buried in Moshav Emunim on Tuesday, and family friend Sivan Davush was quoted by Yedioth Aharonoth saying she "had a catering and event production business, and everyone knew her."
"We all worked with here when we were young, and she remained the same wonderful woman," eulogized the grieving friend.
On the morning of the wedding, bride-to-be Karin Hayon, 27, wrote a glowing Facebook post ahead of what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life, writing, "today I enter under the huppah (wedding canopy – ed.) and kiddushin (marital sanctification ceremony – ed.) with the love of my soul, and no one is happier than me. Longing to be your wife already, may we enjoy this day."
But the joy was horrifically cut short, as the light fixture came hurtling down just minutes after midnight as the nearly 800 guests finished eating and took to the dance floor to celebrate with Karin and her new husband Mor Levy, 26, at the Adia wedding hall in Yavneh.
The bride had just gone to change her dress and fix her make-up, when suddenly the chandelier crashed with a massive roar onto the active bar in the center of the dance floor.
"I was holding open heads (i.e. heads with cuts – ed.) and with a napkin I tried to stop the blood," recalled the groom's cousin. "On every side were wounded and screams of people lying on the floor. The white shirt I wore to the wedding turned red from all the blood."
Gila, the mother of the groom, stood in the hall in her fancy dress that had been sewn especially for the event and simply could not digest the horror unfolding before her eyes. "How did it happen at the wedding we were so waiting for," she cried.
In the early morning hours Karin and Mor left the hospital and traveled to Mor's parents in Yavneh. Their first day as man and wife was spent in mourning and tears.
"We were very lucky that the young people who just half-an-hour earlier were next to the bar were dancing at the time the lighting collapsed, otherwise the tragedy would have been much greater," Mor told his friend on Tuesday. "Now we're all shocked, hurting and can't digest what happened to us."
The groom lamented, "what a tragedy, what a disaster. My bride Karin told me before it happened that our wedding was the most special in the world – and in one moment everything was destroyed. G-d, what happened here? Who thought this could happen?"
"It's hard to see the couple break down like this," one of their friends said. "They invested so much of their money, made lots of preparations and expected a happy wedding – but now they are bitter with tears at how tragedy hit in a single moment."