It was a joyous occasion for Bindi Irwin when her boyfriend of six years, Chandler Powell, put a ring on it last week, but it also made for a 'bittersweet time' for the 21-year-old, as her father wasn't around to "get excited" about their impending nuptials.
July 24th 2019 ❤️ On my birthday I said ‘yes’ and ‘forever’ to the love of my life. Chandler, close to 6 years ago I fell in love with you and every day since has been a whirlwind of adventure and true happiness. I’m so looking forwarding to spending our forever together as your wife. Here’s to a lifetime of friendship, purpose and unconditional love. — Now let’s get married already!
"I do really wish that dad was here to be able to celebrate with us as a family," Bindi told Sunshine Coast Daily in an interview. "I think in some ways he is and his spirit lives on in everything that we do, and I always feel closest to dad here at Australia Zoo."
She said, "It's been really challenging. It's kind of one of the happiest times in my life, but also one of the most challenging. It was genuinely a bittersweet time. In the moment it was so incredibly special, but then at the same time, for me on a personal note, there's ... there's people who I really wish could be here today for this time in my life."
"Particularly dad. I wish that he could be here to be getting excited and welcoming Chandler to the family."
Her father, Steve Irwin, famously known as "The Crocodile Hunter", passed away in 2006, when he was fatally stabbed in the heart by a stingray barb while filming a documentary.
As her tribute to her late father, Bindi hopes to have brother Robert, 15, walk her down the aisle in place of her dad. Her mum, Terri is slated to step in for Steve for the traditional father-daughter dance.
Robert, 15, recently recreated a photo of his father at the Australia Zoo, both of them feeding the same crocodile. He captioned his tweet, "Dad and me feeding Murray... same place, same croc - two photos 15 years apart."
“I think that for me, it’ll be really important that Robert walks me down the aisle. That’s something that I really want to do,” she shared with ET.
Revealing more about her close bond with Robert, she added, “I’m always so grateful that Robert is there, and he has been such a big part of my life and he’s always stepped up and been the one to give me a hug when I need it and encourage me forward in life. So he will definitely be the one to walk me down the aisle when the time comes, and I think that will make it really special."
And of course, the wedding will be held at The Australia Zoo, where Chandler had also proposed.