How Bindi Irwin Honored Dad 'Crocodile Hunter' Star Steve Irwin at Her Wedding

"Where we got married was such a special place to dad," Bindi Irwin says of the garden at the Australia Zoo

When Bindi Irwin was planning her wedding to longtime boyfriend Chandler Powell, the Animal Planet star knew she wanted to make her late father Steve Irwin a big part of the March 25 ceremony.

“Where we got married was such a special place to dad,” Bindi, 21, tells PEOPLE of the garden at the Australia Zoo. “It’s a beautiful little area where he had filmed for many years. It felt really wonderful and just meant to be.”

Honoring Steve — who died Sept. 4, 2006 at age 44 after he was attacked by a stingray while working on an underwater film — was especially emotional for the family, including Bindi’s mom, Terri, and her younger brother, Robert.

Bindi and Steve Irwin
Bindi Irwin and Steve Irwin. Bindi Irwin/Instagram

“We had dad’s picture with his dog Sui blown up on an easel,” says Bindi. “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.”

4/14/2020 cover of people magazine featuring BIndi Irwin and Chandler Powell wedding
Australia Zoo Productions Pty Ltd. Copyright 2020
  • For more from Bindi Irwin, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

Bindi and Powell had initially planned a ceremony with 200 guests, but cancelled just days before due to COVID-19. Instead, they married in an intimate ceremony in the garden at the zoo. In attendance were “lots of animals” and just three guests: Terri, Robert, and Bindi’s late father’s best friend, Wes Mannion.

Australia Zoo Productions Pty Ltd. Copyright 2020

One extra special touch to represent Steve was Bindi’s bouquet, tied with a khaki ribbon.

“Most brides have something blue; I had my khaki,” Bindi says.

Crikey! It’s the Irwins: Bindi’s Wedding special premieres April 18 at 8 p.m. ET on Animal Planet.

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