Bindi Irwin Will Honor Late Dad Steve Irwin at Her Wedding with Special Candle Lighting Ceremony

The beloved wildlife expert died in 2006 when he was attacked by a stingray off the coast of northern Australia

As Bindi Irwin prepares to marry her fiancé Chandler Powell, the Animal Planet star is finding special ways to honor her late father Steve Irwin at their upcoming wedding.

“I really want to include Dad on the day and make sure that he is with us in some way,” Bindi tells PEOPLE. “Just little bits of Dad that will make it feel like he’s there with us.”

“We’ll have candle lighting ceremony,” she explains. “So we’ll be able to all get up as a little family and light a candle in his honor and share a few words on what an amazing dad he was and still is.”

The beloved wildlife expert was working on the documentary series Ocean’s Deadliest when he was attacked by a stingray off the coast of northern Australia and died on Sept. 4, 2006. He was 44.

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Bindi and Powell, 22, announced their engagement on July 24, Bindi’s 21st birthday, after dating for nearly six years.

Set to wed next year at the Australia Zoo where the Irwin family lives and works, it’s the perfect place to say their “I do’s” surrounded by family and friends. (Bindi actually met Chandler, a wakeboarder from Florida, in 2013 while he was visiting the zoo.)

Bindi Irwin Chandler Powell
Chandler Powell and Bindi Irwin. Chandler Powell/Instagram

“Out of everyone in our family, Dad would always get the most emotional out of everyone,” Bindi recalls. “We’re all very emotional people, but Dad, anytime we would achieve anything as kids, he would just start crying. I remember the first time I ever filmed with little ants on camera, I was telling the camera that these little ants are so important to protect and he just started crying.”

“It was really special that he was the one that was so excited about the big moments in our lives and there isn’t a bigger moment that I can think of than getting married to Chandler,” she adds. “It’s going to be a really special day.”

The new season of Crikey! It’s the Irwins premieres Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on Animal Planet.

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