Following her surprise wedding last week, Bindi Irwin has now opened up about her decision to marry longtime boyfriend Chandler Powell amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The couple tied the knot at Australia Zoo on 25 March, just hours after Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced new restrictions on weddings due to COVID-19, with only five people allowed to attend. "We had been planning for almost a year, but as soon as this all started happening, we had to look at different options to make sure everyone was safe," the 21-year-old bride told People.
WATCH: We chat with Bindi Irwin and Chandler Powell about their wedding
Her mother Terri, her brother Robert, and her late father Steve's best friend, Wes Mannion, were the only guests in attendance. "It was a tough decision but absolutely the right one," she explained. "Even if it wasn't by-the-book perfect, it was our perfect." Despite not being able to celebrate the day with more friends and family, Bindi maintains their last-minute decision. "You want to share this day with everyone," she added. "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.'"
READ: Why everyone is proposing amid coronavirus
Hours after their secret wedding, Bindi shared a gorgeous snap of the newlyweds. "March 25th 2020. We held a small ceremony and I married my best friend. There are no words to describe the amount of love and light in my heart right now," she wrote in the caption. "We've planned this beautiful day for nearly a year and had to change everything, as we didn't have guests at our wedding. This was a very difficult decision but important to keep everyone safe."
"Today we celebrated life and revelled in every beautiful moment we shared together in our Australia Zoo gardens. Mum helped me get ready, Robert walked me down the aisle, Chandler became my husband and together we lit a candle in Dad's memory," she added. "We shared tears and smiles and love. Thankfully, since we all live at Australia Zoo as a family, we could be there for each other."
MORE: Make your loved one’s day with a thoughtful HELLO! magazine subscription
In November, wildlife expert Bindi spoke to HELLO! ahead of her wedding and admitted she is finding "some special way" to include her late father Steve in the ceremony and reception. "I was thinking some koalas, maybe a wombat would remind me of him! We are going to sit down and find little ways to be able to include him. Things he liked to eat - and what's so special for us is getting married in Australia Zoo, it's dad favourite place on the planet, he built the place with his bare hands so it will be really nice I think to celebrate the day surrounded by love and light."
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.