Bindi Irwin’s zoo wedding covers People, did they have a koala groomsman?!

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Bindi Irwin got married last week, which feels like five years ago. Bindi is pretty young – she’s 21 years old – and she’s been with her husband Chandler Powell for six years. I feel like Australians are just like that, they fall in love with “high school sweethearts” and get married young and it lasts forever. I’m sure not every Aussie is like that, but it definitely feels like more Aussies are like that than Americans. Anyway, we heard about Bindi’s wedding last week, but she gave the wedding photos to People Magazine for their cover this week. I friggin’ LOVE the wedding photo on the cover. The koala!! Koala Groomsman!!! The fact that a koala is in their wedding photos just makes the whole thing perfect. In fact, Bindi and Chandler basically just had animal “wedding guests” because they chose to go ahead with their wedding as Australia was put on coronavirus lockdown.

From the day Bindi Irwin got engaged to fiancé Chandler Powell last July, the Animal Planet star has been planning her dream wedding at the Australia Zoo. But just four weeks before the daughter of Crocodile Hunter star Steve Irwin and his wife, Terri, was set to walk down the aisle on April 4, the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, began to spread around the globe.

“We had been planning for almost a year,” Bindi tells PEOPLE, “but as soon as this all started happening, we had to look at different options to make sure everyone was safe.” As the pandemic hit country by country, unprecedented shutdowns were put into effect to slow the spread. (With 4,557 cases as of March 31, Australia has now banned most gatherings and limited weddings to five people.) The Irwin family has temporarily closed the Australia Zoo, and Bindi and Powell officially canceled their wedding with just days to go.

“It was a tough decision but absolutely the right one,” says Bindi. “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 shares.

So on March 25, the Crikey! It’s the Irwins star, 21, and Powell, 23, exchanged “I dos” 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’s best friend, Wes Mannion. “Even if it wasn’t by-the-book perfect, it was our perfect,” says Bindi, who first met Powell in 2013.

Says Bindi: “These last few days have been amazing reflecting on our whirlwind of a day and also looking forward to the future. My dad would be so happy.”

[From People]

I’m now at the phase of self-isolation where I am getting a little teary about how Steve Irwin really would have been proud of Bindi. He would have! He would have loved everything about a zoo wedding, and his little girl getting married surrounded by animals. He would have loved that his new son-in-law held a koala groomsman. F–k, this is making me so emotional.

While Bindi and Chandler didn’t have many wedding guests, they… had a camera crew?? The Animal Planet will premiere “Crikey! It’s the Irwins: Bindi’s Wedding special” on April 18 at 8 p.m.

Photos courtesy of People, Instagram.

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59 Responses to “Bindi Irwin’s zoo wedding covers People, did they have a koala groomsman?!”

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  1. Sierra says:

    If they did then I am soo stealing that idea.

  2. Melissa says:

    After watching Tiger King I cant look at zoo owners the same. I am aware that isn’t fair and know major zoos do research and conservation work, still too soon.

    • Natal says:

      That’s a super dumb take. There is almost nothing in common between a major institution like Australia zoo and the meth addicts and cult leaders in tiger king.

      • Melissa says:

        Thank you for the respectful response. I believe I acknowledged that it was an unfair reaction, however that was my initial reaction 🤷‍♀️.
        Wild animals as wedding props make me uncomfortable regardless of who is doing it.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        eh, I wouldn’t really classify the koala as a “prop”…it’s not like they hired a wild animal wrangler and “rented” his animals for the day…this is likely a bear that both Bindi and her husband know and interact with on the daily.

        just like people consider their dogs as “family” and often have the dog as a participant in the wedding, or at least present and in pictures, sometimes with a bow tie, etc. I don’t see it as very different from that.

      • Ellie says:

        Hiya – whatWHAT? koalas are NOT bears. Irritatingly common misconception. Marsupial mammals, not bears. Never were, never will be.

      • CherryL says:

        There actually is. They’re still keeping wild animals in captivity. Zoo animals aren’t pets like dogs and cats. Yes, the have a better life than the ones in Tiger King but it’s still not the life they deserved.

    • Amelie says:

      No I get it, the thought always crossed my mind about Steve Irwin when he was alive and wrestling with crocodiles or going after venomous snakes or whatever ridiculous behavior he was doing. I know Steve Irwin has always been celebrated as a hero for conservation work and advocating for wildlife but I’ve always wondered. Plus after Steve died, Steve’s father Bob and Terry had a major falling out about how the zoo was being run and he has not spoken to his grandchildren in years and he has nothing to do with Australia Zoo nowadays. It’s sad but I sometimes wonder what Bob disagreed with behind the scenes. There’s major drama there.

      • Mrs.Krabapple says:

        Steve would actively harass the wild animals to make his tv show “exciting” — he was not about helping animals, he was all about show biz. I do not know how his daughter views animals, so I will give her the benefit of the doubt. But, I will also say that wild animals are not pets or accessories. I don’t care how cute a koala is, it should not be used as a wedding gimmick.

    • Spicecake38 says:

      I get where you are coming from Melissa.We started watching Tiger King and I know there is a difference between responsible people /zoos /conservation areas working with animals and advocating for animal rights and conservation vs the absolute exploitation and abuse of animals for profit that Joe (disgusting)Exotic and others partake in-but I cannot look at animals in cages the same anymore.It is difficult to reconcile that many animals will live their entire lives in captivity away from their natural habitats and many are being mistreated.
      I like Bindi I’m not judging her,I’m sure the koala is beloved by them,but animals in any situation that is not their natural habitat is a bit hard to see,but I do acknowledge that there are situations where some animals are safer due to endangerment,illness,etc.
      Congratulations to the happy couple.

    • Pamspam says:

      Melissa I agree and I haven’t even seen Tiger King. I’m not a fan of zoos at all and I know it’s not a popular opinion, but I wasn’t a fan of Steve. I always just wanted to say “please just leave that animal alone!”

      And I’m sorry Natal snapped at you. That wasn’t nice. ☹️

    • Alisha says:

      I do not know the backstory of this particular bear, but I have volunteered with a wildlife rescue/rehab facility that also has “educational” animals. In our facility, those animals are ones that cannot be released back into the wild either due to injuries that were too severe or they were domesticated (prior to us getting them – some of our rescues came from people that had them as pets that should not have) and they were too acclimated to humans to be able to survive on their own. So some of our handlers would do educational talks and other similar types of events with these animals. At our facility at least, they were only handled by licensed workers and were very well cared for. I would imagine this bear is in a similar type of situation and I do not think Bindi would put it in harms way. Many rescue facilities such as ours really do care for the animals and try to help them while also educating the public. Tiger Joe and his ilk just use them as a commodity for profit.

    • Bucky Bieber says:

      ‘Thank you for the respectful response’

      @Melissa: Really? 😄

    • SKF says:

      Okay, few things:

      1. No one in Australia calls them koala bears, we call them koalas, and it is a pet peeve of ours when people from overseas call them bears.

      2. Koalas cannot be owned as domesticated pets. It is illegal.

      3. Australia has much stricter laws on the ownership of exotic animals than the USA. It’s illegal to import exotic animals (including Savannah Cats) as pets in Australia. What you can own as a pet is strictly limited – wild animals are not allowed as pets.

      4. Australia has much stricter laws in regards to zoos than the US. They have to meet strict requirements, including animal welfare requirements. The roadside zoos seen in Tiger King don’t exist here.

      5. Steve Irwin was seen as an embarrassing buffoon in Australia when he was alive. Sometimes he was kinda amusing; but he appealed way more internationally as kind of a caricature of an Australian. He apparently was quite a lovely person, and was genuinely that hyped up in real life; but all of his running around tackling crocodiles was sort of side-eyed here. I think he had mostly good intentions (he put most of his money into genuine conservation projects); but I also think he liked to get reactions out of animals in order to create a show. That’s likely why he died.

      I don’t know Australia Zoo well, because I don’t live in Queensland; but I do know that they have a good wildlife hospital that was the key wildlife hospital in QLD during the bushfires and that they put a lot of money into conservation projects. This koala is potentially an animal that recovered from injury with them, or it might be an animal that lives permanently at the zoo. Most zoos here have really good koala set-ups. However, I don’t think they should generally be used as props.

  3. Mei says:

    I dislike the idea of using animals as props. It’s not far from there to training them to do tricks and be in shows. Not to mention that clearly having all those animals is just asking for covid19 transmission – multiple people would be touching them and there would have had to be more people around to take care of and transport said animals. Overall a pretty stupid idea imho.

    • AnnaKist says:

      Bindi is used to handling these animals, and knows better than most that they may look cute, but are still wild animals. Australia has very strict laws about keeping any animal, and even more so, dealing with – working with, rescuing, rehabilitating/re-releasing, etc. – native animals. Penalties for abuse of these laws are very severe. No one is permitted to keep native animals as pets, working animals and/or “show” animals. Private zoos, such as Australia Zoo, are fully licensed and must comply with State and Federal legislation for the protection of our native fauna. They are not known for performing tricks, especially koalas, who spend most of their time sleeping.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      As I noted above, I wouldn’t really classify the koala as a “prop”…it’s not like they hired a wild animal wrangler and “rented” his animals for the day…this is likely a bear that both Bindi and her husband know and interact with on the daily.

      just like people consider their dogs as “family” and often have the dog as a participant in the wedding, or at least present and in pictures, sometimes with a bow tie, etc. I don’t see it as very different from that. they couldn’t have people, so they had their non-human family there.

      • R says:

        Koalas aren’t bears.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        Jeezus please us…

        I was only referring to it as a bear because it’s called a KOALA BEAR.

        pedants gonna pedant.

      • Lou says:

        They’re not called koala bears though. I have no idea why Americans call them that.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        it’s not just Americans.

      • Ames says:

        @ Lou

        They *were* called “bears,” as they were scientifically misnamed over 200 years ago. People eventually started using the aboriginal word – typically “koola” – but naturalists didn’t figure out the marsupial thing until much later.

        And not to rain too hard on your “Americans, stupid, amirite?” parade, but they still ARE called bears. Scientifically speaking, anyway. “Phascolarctos cinereus” – Greek for “gray bear with pouch.”

      • Haapa says:

        And butterflies are not flies. Chill. Common names have never been taxonomically correct.

  4. JJ McClay says:

    I’m Aussie. And I *am* married to a guy I went to high school with (though I wasn’t close to him then, reconnected with him 10 years after school, at our 10 yr reunion).

    But I don’t think that many Aussies are married to high school sweethearts?! Have never heard that stereotype before!

    On another note, Australia Zoo (the Irwin’s zoo) is awesome. Tiger King has made me nervous about zoos, but the Irwin’s zoo seems great.

    • Ash says:

      I’m an Aussie who lives overseas and I actually fully agree with the article’s statement! I’m now in country no. 4, one of which was the US, and seeing how “these foreigners” live, we are on average really a bit more obsessed than others with getting married young…of course, there are exceptions etc etc, but still.

      • Ellie says:

        How odd. Maybe if you’re from the country or something? Noone I know from the city was married before like… 30

      • Cas says:

        Yeah most of my friends settled down at age 21-22 so it rings true for me. We’re from Melbourne or Sydney so not country. I myself am unmarried at 37 and am noticing it is more common but the majority I think marry quite young here.

      • SKF says:

        I don’t know who you guys hang out with; but getting married in the early 20s is definitely not the norm in Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2018 the median age at marriage was 32.4 years for males and 30.5 years for females. Early 30s is when most people I know got married too. There are outliers (I guess, your friends included?), and some religious people get married young; but the majority are late 20s to mid 30s.

    • Miss America says:

      American married to an Aussie, living in Aus. Also my observation. In fact, isn’t Bindi’s husband from Florida? So the same argument could be made about Americans marrying their high school sweethearts. 21 is so young though…God speed to them.

  5. SKF says:

    We definitely don’t do that in Australia! Ha ha ha! I know of two couples out of the thousands of people I know who got together in high school, and they got married in their very late 20s. Most people I know got married in their 30s. It trends younger in areas with fewer socioeconomic advantages – just like in the US. Also in really religious groups. Bindi is definitely considered really young to get married.

    I’m not a fan of using wild animals as props. I actually am not fond of people being allowed to pet wild animals. I’m not that familiar with her family zoo’s work. I know they pump a lot of money into genuine conservation projects, and they have a wildlife hospital that treated native animals injured in the bushfires in QLD. Not sure if they are of the highest standard with their captive animals TVH. Steve loved to provoke reactions, which is not what proper zoos and sanctuaries are about. But it might have evolved since then.

    Congrats Bindi!

  6. Ali says:

    21 is so young to get married.

  7. Xena says:

    Her father died quite young himself and she was 8 at the time. She might feel different about being young. More like life is short, let’s not forever wait to do what matters for you. Getting married after 6 years is totally fine and though they are both Young, it appears to be a reasonable thoughthrough decision. I wish them happiness.

    • Aang says:

      I was 21 and we had dated for 5 years. Still going strong 25 years later. I like that all of our firsts are with one another. All of my memories of my life as an older teen and an adult include him. It provides a real foundation for getting over the rough patches, and breeds incredible trust. On the zoo note, some zoos like Animal Kingdom at Disney World do really great work.

    • CherryL says:

      It’s the relationship of children tho. You can’t properly grow into who you are when you’re in this serious of a relationship at this age. You should find yourself. Relationship and sex wise, it’s always good to have more than one experience.

  8. C-Shell says:

    The koala! That Cavalier puppy!! The things keeping me steady through this isolation are my Cavvie, Fergus, and all the hilarious and adorable animals and pets on SM.

    To be so young, Bindi and Chandler seem mature and handling their celebrity very well. Steve would surely be proud; she’s following his footsteps quite deftly.

  9. manda says:

    So it’s decided then–when my hubby and I renew our vows, if ever, the only guests will be puppies and koalas. I can handle that

  10. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I’ve never liked any zoos. Ever. Even huge, expensive, ‘get-your-dipping-dots-here’ locales. I remember thinking they were odd at a very young age. When important and necessary scientific work is needed for species survival, I can understand producing a film or a series. I’m sure funding is always an issue. But I don’t care how glorious the zoo is, it’s never enough. And enough would defeat the purpose of having crowds of humans sauntering past ‘habitats,’ gawking, pointing and slurping ice cream as it melts over their pudgy hands lol.

    The Irwins don’t strike me as profiteers, but Steve did some questionable things from time to time imo. Or maybe he just had ADHD, and the animal kingdom was his ritalin. He’d be over the moon watching his daughter getting married. It was horrible watching his family after his accident. So so sad.

  11. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    Wedding day chlamydia, anyone? (Love koalas, but getting up close and personal with them carries its risks).

  12. Murphy says:

    I’m an American who married her high school sweetheart, we do exist.

  13. Pzc says:

    Why were all the guests on her side?

    • Kayla says:

      He’s from America and his family still lives there, so I imagine they weren’t able to travel with COVID happening.

  14. Porsha says:

    You would think this is a royal wedding, they are in every magazine this week in Australia, something does not seem right with the mother creeps me out, i lot of phone calls were made for wedding of the year

  15. Kathy Kack says:

    Sorry zoos should be illegal. She is profiting off of these animals. Which SHOULD NOT be in cages. Sure they should help rescued animals. But don’t charge money to see them. And how many are really rescues and and ones that cannot be released into the wild?? Holding animals for our entertainment is DESPICABLE.

    • Ames says:

      “The wild” didn’t work out so well for many thousands of koalas burned to death and gravely injured in the “wild” parts of Australia that were on fire for the better part of a year. I’d wager the koala in that picture is a wildfire rescue, or the cub of one.

    • Marigold says:

      Animals in confinement is not ideal, but “should be illegal?” I don’t know about other parts of the world, but in the US, our larger zoos are instrumental in all sorts of wildlife preservation, funding for wildlife preservation, and awareness for animal welfare programs.

      I used to be very negative about zoos until I met people who were educated in wildlife management and preservation. They were fascinating people and they explained to us some of the ways national parks and wildlife organizations work in the US. Zoos are a huge part of that with coordinating rescue for animals that have nowhere else to be, veterinary care and research that helps with everything from American Buffalo to wolves to endangered birds.

      Zoos are not the evil a lot of people think they are…well…the legitimate ones. Obviously, I’m not talking about backyard, “come see my tigers” nutbats.

  16. MeghanNotMarkle says:

    I have mixed feelings about zoos. But I hope these two have a lifetime of happiness.

  17. adastraperaspera says:

    I admit to having really enjoyed Bindi’s “Dancing with the Stars” performances. It seemed like she was really having fun.

  18. 2lazy4username says:

    Yes, the animals are adorable, but I”m more distracted by the “full-on wedding dress for her, khakis and a button down for him” situation.

  19. Tiffany says:

    Wow, Chandler shares a strong resemblance to Steve Irwin. I wanna say the chin structure, but no, it is other features as well.

  20. Ange says:

    The average age for Australians to get married is 30 for women and 31 for men, in America it’s 27 for women and 29 for men so nah.

    • CherryL says:

      Yeah, she’s definitely too Young to get married. I don’t get the excitement of the Family. If my daughter wanted to get married at 21I’d seriously doubt her mental state.

  21. Bananas says:

    An Australian here. Never met a person who married their high school sweetheart. Not one.

    Romantic relationships are not central to the Australian culture as it is in other parts of the world.

    Statistics say the average age of marriage In Australia is early 30s, having cohabitated for a few years beforehand.

  22. Bananas says:

    There’s been no lockdown in Australia yet.

    Bindi got married just hours before new restrictions took effect where weddings could have no more than five people present.

    They report she had no guests, but her mum, brother and Director of the zoo were there. Plus a camera crew.

    So like, they chose a camera crew over other loved ones. For what? A documentary contract? The love of television? The need for money?

    What would you do?

  23. L says:

    Never was a fan of Steve, he taunted those animals for TV. Not a fan of his family either, they all seem just a wee bit crazy to me. The way she’s looking at him… She crazy.

    And no, koalas are not bears, nor are they called koala bears, they are simply koalas.

  24. CherryL says:

    Can we talk about the fact that she’s waaaaaay too young to get married.