"Even if it wasn't by-the-book perfect, it was our perfect," Bindi Irwin tells PEOPLE of her wedding day

By Emily Strohm
April 03, 2020 11:00 AM
Advertisement

When Bindi Irwin said her “I dos” to longtime boyfriend Chandler Powell, the Animal Planet star knew she wanted her vows to be personal.

The pair, who got engaged after Powell popped the question last July, had been planning a 200-guest wedding set for April 4, but the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, forced them to drastically alter their plans.

On March 25, the Crikey! It’s the Irwins star, 21, and Powell, 23, wed in an intimate ceremony attended by “lots of animals” and just three guests: Bindi’s mom, Terri; her younger brother, Robert; and her late father Steve Irwin‘s best friend, Wes Mannion.

Credit: Bindi Irwin/Instagram

“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,’ ” Bindi tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story.

“Even if it wasn’t by-the-book perfect, it was our perfect,” she says.

Credit: Australia Zoo Productions Pty Ltd. Copyright 2020
  • For more from Bindi Irwin, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

The couple shared their emotional vows with PEOPLE. Read them below.

Chandler,
When I sat down to write my vows I found a that I couldn’t stop writing them. I started by sharing all the ways you make my life beautiful and I found myself writing close to a thousand words. Then I moved on to write about what an extraordinary person you are and I needed a new pen. Finally I wanted to share all my hopes for the future and I actually ran out of notebook paper. I sat back thinking about how there is no way to describe genuine, unconditional love. A love like this is meant to be felt, in every part of our soul. Marriage marks this incredible beginning and yet I feel like we’ve already experienced so much life together. We say all the time that it feels like we’ve been married for years. We’ve been a team through life’s wonderful highs and difficult lows. You’ve held my hand as we’ve run towards every new adventure that comes our way. It amazes me daily that you are so willing and excited to be part of our wild world. 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! They say there’s a moment when you know you’ve fallen in love with someone, for me it was watching you happily jump in the water with a 15 foot crocodile and then tell me how much you enjoyed it. You really are my soulmate. I call upon the people here present to witness that I, Bindi Irwin, take you, Chandler Powell, to be my wedded husband. I promise to love you with all my heart through every twist and turn the world brings our way. I promise to encourage your dreams and help you achieve them. I promise to stand beside you as your wife, team mate and friend. I promise to share an ‘I love you’ before I sleep each night no matter what our day has brought. I promise to be your strength and light when you need it. I promise to revel with you in each breathtaking moment we are given in this life. Chandler, thank you for loving me for me. You love me when I’m uncontrollably laughing or falling asleep by 6 p.m. You jump into every moment with me and validate what unconditional love really means. You’ve been my best friend for over six years. You have made me smile every day since I first met you. Every single day, you’ve managed to make me smile. That is amazing and so are you. My husband, my team mate and partner in conservation. To quote our favourite show, “I love you and I like you.”

Beautiful Bindi Sue,
Almost seven years ago when we met here at the Zoo I had no idea the adventure that would be waiting for us. Who knew the stars that had to align for a guy from Seffner, Florida, and a girl from Beerwah, Queensland to be destined for each other to meet. You became my friend, best friend, and now I get to call you my wife. You are the most beautiful person alive inside and out. My favourite thing about you is your unending kindness for everyone. I think almost everyone we know can say they’ve received a bouquet of flowers from you at some point in time. Whether it’s caring for an animal in need or giving someone a compliment to brighten their day, I am amazed by your ability to be so considerate of our planet and every soul on it. You inspire me to be a better person every single day.
I call upon the people here present to witness that I, Chandler Powell, take you, Bindi Irwin, to be my wedded wife. I promise that we will always be a team. Whether it’s filming in the zoo or catching crocodiles, I will be right by your side. No matter what life throws our way, you can always count on the fact that we will be together through it all. I promise to appreciate every moment with you. You always say that “we are living the good old days days right now.” Let’s spend our days revelling in that each moment spent together is a miracle. I promise to always look on the bright side of life. To enjoy the best days with you, and help you find light in the more challenging of days. I promise to love you unconditionally. I am the luckiest man in the world to marry you, living our best life filled with wildlife, love and lots of khaki. I love you with everything I have.

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