Elvis Presley-Themed Weddings Could Be a Thing of the Past in Las Vegas
Las Vegas has long been known for its wedding chapels, where couples can get married by an Elvis Presley-impersonating officiant, but the days of weddings officiated by "The King" may be coming to an end.
American Brands Group — the licensing company for Presley's name and image — issued a cease-and-desist letter to Las Vegas wedding chapels on May 19 that demands they stop using Presley's likeness in their wedding ceremonies, per a report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
The chapels named in the cease-and-desist include Viva Las Vegas/Vegas Weddings, the Elvis Chapel, Elvis Weddings and Las Vegas Elvis Chapel. The mandate has chapel owners worried about the loss of business. Kayla Collins, who operates LasVegasElvisWeddingChapel.com and the Little Chapel of Hearts, says she's concerned.
"We are a family-run business, and now we’re hanging with the big dogs,” Collins notes. “That’s our bread and butter. I don’t get it. We were just hitting our stride again through COVID, then this happens."
With weddings being one of the state's top industries, garnering $2 billion a year, officials are also worried about the impact the order could have on the city.
“It might destroy a portion of our wedding industry," says Clark County Clerk Lynn Goya. "A number of people might lose their livelihood."
The letter cracks down on the unapproved use of Presley's "name, likeness, voice image and other elements of Elvis Presley’s persona in advertisements, merchandise and otherwise.” It also identifies “Elvis,” “Elvis Presley,” “and “The King of Rock and Roll” as protected trademarks.
Per the cease-and-desist, chapels were required to drop their Elvis themes by May 27.
Some chapels have reportedly been getting around the new rule in creative ways, with one Elvis officiant trading in his usual garb for a leather jacket, jeans and a fedora and changing the wedding to a "rock 'n roll" theme. Still, many business owners are shocked by the development.
“They want to protect the Elvis brand. But what are they protecting by taking Elvis away from the public?” Elvis Weddings owner Kent Ripley asks.
The cease-and-desist order does not extend to Elvis-themed stage shows, as they are protected under Nevada's "right of publicity" statute. The news comes about a month before the release of the new Elvis Presley biopic, Elvis, out June 24.
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