Ever since her boyfriend Chandler Powell proposed, Bindi Irwin knew she wanted nothing more than for her wedding to be a celebration of family. And for the television personality and wildlife expert, that meant remembering her late father, Steve Irwin, wearing her mother’s wedding dress from 50 years ago, and having her younger brother walk her down the aisle.
But there was an unforeseen snag in her plans. Her mother’s dress didn’t fit properly. But Bindi was determined. So, the 21-year-old got creative, making sure the magic of her parents’ love and devotion to one another sparkled through on her special day.
Their Love Story
American-born Chandler Powell first met Bindi Irwin in 2003, when he was visiting Australia for a national wakeboarding competition. Taking some time off from the competition and training, young Powell decided to take a day trip to the Australian Zoo.
It was there that he first saw Bindi. She was his tour guide for the day, and the two hit it off immediately. Ever the gentleman, Chandler asked Bindi’s mother, Terri, if she would allow him to keep in touch with Bindi when he went back to the States. She said yes.
Soon after the two met, Chandler had to return home to Florida, and Bindi had to stay behind in Australia. But that didn’t keep the two youngsters apart for long. They were determined to make their long-distance relationship work. So, Bindi traveled to the United States to attend Chandler’s prom.
Then, Chandler hopped on a plane to Los Angeles to watch as Bindi competed in Dancing with the Stars. Even though they were young, the two were making it work as best they could.
Robert Tested Chandler Whenever He Visited The Zoo
Chandler also made his intentions toward Bindi known by traveling to visit her at the Australian Zoo. Of course, Bindi has a brother, so Chandler was going to be tested a time or two to see if he was able to keep up with the crazy Irwin lifestyle.
During an interview with People, Robert said, “One of the first times Chandler came to the zoo, I wanted to kind of test him, just to see what would happen. So we had him feeding alligators, and he did awesome. I’m very impressed. He’s great with wildlife, so I approve.”
The Proposal Was Very Romantic
After being together in a long-distance relationship for years, Chandler decided it was time to take things to the next level. So, he uprooted his life in Florida and moved to Australia to be with Bindi. Then, all of a sudden, it was Bindi’s 21st birthday.
On that day, Chandler brought Bindi to the spot at the zoo where her father had proposed to her mother, got down on one knee, opened a box to display a gorgeous oval diamond ring, and asked Bindi if she would do him the honor and become his wife. She said yes!
Bindi And Chandler Added A New Member To Their Family
The newly-engaged couple was eager to start planning. But Bindi and Chandler decided to do a little something for themselves in between the hectic wedding arrangements and working at the Australian Zoo. To ring in the new 2020 year, Bindi and Chandler decided to adopt a puppy!
The couple is now the proud owner of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Of course, because they’re animal lovers, they decided to name their new fur-baby Piggy!
They Had A Year-Long Engagement
Bindi and Chandler opted for a year-long engagement, giving them plenty of time to get all of the details together. Bindi had a vision for the wedding that she didn’t want to waver from, including wearing her mother’s gown, honoring her late father, Steve Irwin, and making everything nature-themed.
Ironically, nature threw them quite a curve-ball in 2020, so they had to improvise on some of the finer details of the ceremony.
For Bindi, Family Is Everything
Bindi knew she wanted nothing more than for her family to be represented during her wedding. So, when her now-husband Chandler Powell proposed, she quickly started planning how she was going to incorporate her father, mother, Terri, and her younger brother, Robert.
Unfortunately, for the two lovebirds, their wedding plans needed to be tweaked due to the virus that swept across the world in 2020. So, their 200-person celebration became an intimate affair.
The Large Ceremony Turned Into An Intimate Affair
Although their plans needed to be changed to a smaller gathering, Bindi and Chandler were still able to get married at the Australian Zoo. And Bindi’s wishes to represent her family members never wavered. Everyone was able to play a special role in their big day.
Her younger brother had an especially important role, walking the bride down the aisle. Robert was very honored to be his big sister’s escort, illustrating his feelings in an emotional Instagram post.
Robert Made A Heartfelt Instagram Post
Robert’s Instagram post said, “This is a day that we will never forget. Bindi and Chandler, words cannot describe how happy and proud I am that today you started your married life and celebrated love during a difficult time for our world.”
“And I was beyond honoured to get to walk Bindi down the aisle today. Even though all of your wedding plans had to change at the last minute to keep everyone safe and healthy, it truly was an emotional and beautifully spontaneous dad. I know that Dad was with us, and we are all so delighted for your future as husband and wife. I love you both.”
Bindi Knew Exactly How She Wanted To Honor Her Mother
Ever since she was little, Bindi had admired her mother’s wedding dress. It was a family heirloom and over 50 years old. Unfortunately, because of its old age, the dress couldn’t be altered. In an interview with People magazine, Bindi said, “I wanted something very similar because I’ve admired [my mom’s] dress since I was tiny.”
“When I was about 12 years old, I put on mum’s wedding dress, and it was a really, really special. It’s over 50 years old because it’s been in the family for that long.” The dress didn’t quite fit right, though, so Bindi had to get creative.
She Found A Dress Similar To Her Mother’s
After extensive research, Bindi stumbled upon the company Paddington Weddings. When she searched through their inventory, she couldn’t believe her eyes. There, hanging on one of the racks, was a style so similar to her mother’s Bindi could have sworn they could have been the same dress.
The white dress had a similar sunflower lace design, the same as her mom’s. It was a pattern she felt close to and because it “reminded me of my family and my dad,” she shared. It sealed the deal, and Bindi said yes to the dress.
The A-Line Dress Was Perfect
During her interview with People, Bindi said, “When [my dad and I] would go on projects and drives together, we’d often drive through these huge sunflower fields in the middle of nowhere, and we always stopped to take them in.”
“[The dress] was really special and beautiful. It was just perfect, I said, ‘Oh my goodness, that’s the dress,’ and we all started crying again.” The A-line dress was exactly what the bride-to-be was looking to wear on her special day.
Now It Was Time For Bindi To Honor Her Father
Considering how beautiful Bindi looked on her wedding day, it’s safe to say she picked the right dress. She looked so similar to her mother on her big day that the family couldn’t help but tear up. But there was one more piece to the puzzle — Bindi’s late father.
She wanted to make sure her dad was properly represented at her wedding since he couldn’t be there in person. That meant she had to get even more creative!
First Step, The Location Of The Ceremony
First things first, Bindi and Chandler wanted to exchange their vows somewhere that meant a lot to her father. So, what better spot than the Australian Zoo? It was a place Steve Irwin would do a lot of his filming, so Bindi felt a special connection to the area.
During her interview with People, Bindi said, “Where we got married was such a special place to dad. It’s a beautiful little area where he had filmed for many years. It felt really wonderful and just meant to be.”
Next Step: A Picture Of Steve And His Dog Sui
But the spot where Bindi and Chandler exchanged vows wasn’t the only thing they did to pay homage to Steve. “We had dad’s picture with his dog Sui blown up on an easel,” Bindi told People. “So mom and Robert were standing right next to dad as we exchanged vows.”
“We had a candle-lighting ceremony for him, and it really felt like he was there with us. It was a lovely moment of peace and happiness.”
Bindi’s Dad Made Sure She Knew What To Look For In A Guy
Of course, the Crickey! It’s the Irwins star didn’t stop honoring her father there; she also mentioned him in her vows to Chandler. Bindi wrote, “My dad used to say that I couldn’t marry anyone unless he could swim across the croc pond first. And now, here you are, helping us during our regular crocodile demonstrations.”
“One of your jobs is to jump into the water with our biggest crocs to help encourage them home!” That’s some serious commitment! But, again, paying homage to her wilderness-loving father didn’t stop there.
The Ceremony Included More Animals Than Humans
Bindi and Chandler originally thought to postpone the wedding, considering that none of their 200 guests, including Chandler’s United States-based family, could make it due to government travel orders.
But they decided to go through with a more intimate wedding, including Bindi’s mom, brother, and her father’s best friend Wes Mannion, as the only human guests. Of course, with Bindi being the daughter of Steve Irwin, more than a few animals were invited to the ceremony, including a koala and many different types of snakes.
The Cake Could Have Passed For A Tree Trunk
Their nature-inspired wedding didn’t stop at the wild animals and Bindi’s sunflower-lace dress, though. Bindi and Chandler decided on a very special customized cake. The dessert was four tiers of vanilla cake with strawberries and was decorated to look like tree bark.
In her interview with People, Bindi said, “The cake could have passed for a tree trunk. It was fantastic.” Of course, the vanilla and strawberry cake had to be approved by Bindi’s dessert-loving brother Robert before anything was finalized.
Everyone Had Some Khaki
To tie everything together, Bindi made sure to incorporate her father’s signature khaki. Chandler even opted to wear khaki pants to the ceremony! And Bindi found a creative way to include the material. Instead of “something blue,” Bindi opted to honor her father by tying khaki around her bouquet.
It was a simple and yet beautiful way to pay homage to her late father. During her interview with People, Bindi joked, “Most brides have something blue; I had my khaki.”
They Couldn’t Have Been Happier With Their Small Wedding
The ceremony was everything Bindi and Chandler could have hoped for, considering the circumstances. Bindi said, “We thought about postponing because you want to share this day with everyone, but when it boiled down to it, we both just said, ‘Look, we desperately want to get married, and no matter what the future holds, at least we’ll be husband and wife.'”
“We can take on the world together. Even if it wasn’t by-the-book perfect, it was our perfect.” The wedding was all about love, family, and sticking together through hard times, and Bindi and Chandler couldn’t have been more thrilled with the outcome.