Bindi Irwin and Chandler Powell are married — although the couple’s big day ended up being much smaller than they had planned.
The couple was supposed to get married in April, but due to concerns about the COVID-19 outbreak, they decided to tie the knot Wednesday in an intimate ceremony at Australia Zoo — the Queensland wildlife reserve where the Irwin family lives and works — without their guests.
“This was a very difficult decision but important to keep everyone safe,” Irwin wrote on Instagram. “We wish all of our friends and family could have been there with us, however it’s lovely that we will be able to share photos and videos. Right now we’re encouraging the world to hold onto hope and love, which will carry us forward during this profound time in history.”
Later that day, the Australian government’s new social distancing measures went into effect ― including one stating wedding celebrations should be capped at five people. The ceremony may have been moved up so it could be filmed for an Animal Planet wedding special before the directive went into place, according to HuffPost Australia.
In spite of the setbacks, the couple made the most of the day. Irwin’s mom, Terri, helped her get ready and her brother, Robert, walked her down the aisle. The family lit a candle for Robert and Bindi’s father, the late “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin.
“We shared tears and smiles and love,” the bride said of the day. “Thankfully, since we all live at Australia Zoo as a family, we could be there for each other. To everyone reading this — stay safe, social distance and remember LOVE WINS!”
Robert shared a sweet comment on her Instagram post, writing: “It was a truly incredible day and one of the most special moments of my life walking you down the aisle and watching you start your married life together. I love you both!”
Irwin first met Powell, a professional wakeboarder, when she was his tour guide at Australia Zoo in 2013. They got engaged in July 2019 when Powell popped the question at — where else — the zoo, surrounded by animals.
“I am so very happy, and I know Steve would be too,” Terri said of their engagement at the time.
In an interview last summer, Irwin shared some of the sage marriage advice her mom has given her over the years. For example: A good partner is like your favorite pair of worn-in shoes.
“It sounds really weird, but if you have your most comfortable pair of shoes, you can always count on them, you know, that they’re always gonna hold up, and they’ll walk you through life and they’re dependable,” Irwin told Entertainment Tonight. “And [my mom] said, ‘That’s what our marriage was. It was like the most comfortable pair of shoes. ... That’s what you’re looking for, so you can enjoy all of this wonderful adventure, but then at the end of the day, you’ll come home to someone who will always be there for you and who will back you up and just be that comfort and support in your life.’”
“I feel like that’s what [Chandler and I] have,” Irwin added.