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Unlicensed Elvis Impersonators May Not Be Officiating Las Vegas Weddings for Much Longer

Ellen Gutoskey
Graceland Wedding Chapel owner Brendan Paul about to officiate a wedding ceremony in 2020.
Graceland Wedding Chapel owner Brendan Paul about to officiate a wedding ceremony in 2020. / Mario Tama/GettyImages
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Thanks to his legendary Las Vegas residency, his 1964 film Viva Las Vegas (plus the featured song of the same name), and his own 1967 Las Vegas wedding to Priscilla Beaulieu, Elvis Presley will forever be associated with Sin City. And for the last several decades, many Vegas chapels have become known for hosting Elvis-themed weddings, presided over by Elvis impersonators

But the golden age of that long-standing tradition may soon come to an end. As the Associated Press reports, Authentic Brands Group—a licensing company that controls the use of Elvis’s name and image—recently issued cease-and-desist letters to a number of Vegas chapels that aren’t licensed to use anything Elvis-related. That includes “Presley’s name, likeness, voice image, and other elements of Elvis Presley’s persona in advertisements, merchandise, and otherwise,” according to the document. Businesses won’t even be able to use the word Elvis or the nickname “The King of Rock and Roll,” as both are trademarked.

That’s not to say that ABG is hoping to separate Elvis from his Las Vegas legacy; the company just doesn’t want chapel operators to continue the custom outside of official channels.

“We are seeking to partner with each of these small businesses to ensure that their use of Elvis’ name, image and likeness are officially licensed and authorized by the estate, so they can continue their operations,” the company said in a statement, per the AP. “Elvis is embedded into the fabric of Las Vegas history.”

How this will affect those small businesses—or Las Vegas’s wedding industry at large—remains to be seen. But the business owners aren’t exactly happy about the changes.

“This could be very damaging to our industry,” Melody Willis-Williams, president of Vegas Weddings and Viva Las Vegas Weddings, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Most of us are small businesses, and we’re up against a superpower with a lot of money.”

[h/t Associated Press]

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