Elvis-Related Move Could Crush Vegas Wedding Industry

Licensing company sends cease-and-desist letters to chapel operators
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 1, 2022 10:25 AM CDT
Get Married by Elvis in Las Vegas? Not Anymore
Elvis impersonator Brendan Paul, right, walks down the aisle during a wedding ceremony for Katie Salvatore, center, and Eric Wheeler at the Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Las Vegas chapels of love that use Elvis Presley's likeness could find themselves becoming Heartbreak Hotels. The licensing company that controls the name and image of “The King” is ordering Sin City chapel operators to stop using Elvis in themed ceremonies, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on Monday. Authentic Brands Group sent cease-and-desist letters in early May to multiple chapels, which are expected to be compliant by now. The licensing company oversees the estates of big names like Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali and 50 consumer brands, reports the AP.

In the cease-and-desist letter, the company said it will halt unauthorized use of "Presley's name, likeness, voice ... and other elements of Elvis Presley's persona in advertisements, merchandise and otherwise." With Elvis so closely tied to Vegas' wedding industry, some say the move could decimate their businesses. "We are a family-run business," says Kayla Collins, who operates LasVegasElvisWeddingChapel.com and the Little Chapel of Hearts with her husband. "That's our bread and butter. I don't get it. We were just hitting our stride again through COVID, then this happens."

The city's wedding industry generates $2 billion a year, and officials say Elvis-themed weddings represent a significant number of the ceremonies performed. "It might destroy a portion of our wedding industry. A number of people might lose their livelihood," says Clark County Clerk Lynn Goya, who led a marketing campaign promoting Las Vegas as a wedding destination. One side note: The order should not translate into legal action against Elvis-themed stage shows in Las Vegas because impersonating someone for live performances such as shows is considered an exception under Nevada's right of publicity law. (More Las Vegas stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.