Open Post: Hosted By The Threat Of No More Elvis Weddings In Las Vegas
There are a great many injustices in America, and it pains me to add this next one to the ever-growing list: the licensing company that controls Elvis Presley’s name and the image is ordering Las Vegas chapels to stop using The King’s likeness in their weddings. Great, now my quickie Vegas wedding will be officiated by “Schmelvis Kresley”. As I walk down the aisle he’ll sing “Always On My Brain” or “Can’t Help Falling In Like.” He won’t be allowed to wear an Elvis scarf or lei around his neck; instead he’ll opt for a live snake. And if the snake bites me, you bet your ass I’m suing that Elvis licensing company.
On Monday the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Elvis’ brand management company, Authentic Brands Group, sent cease-and-desist letters to multiple Vegas chapels in early May, via NBCNews:
In the cease-and-desist letter, the company said it will halt unauthorized use of “Presley’s name, likeness, voice image, and other elements of Elvis Presley’s persona in advertisements, merchandise and otherwise.” The letter also said “Elvis,” “Elvis Presley,” “and “The King of Rock and Roll” are protected trademarks.
Graceland Wedding Chapel, pictured above, which performs 6,400 Elvis weddings a year (including Lily Allen and David Harbour’s 2020 ceremony) has not yet been served a warning. But businesses that did receive the letters are expected to “be compliant” (stop Elvis-ing!) ASAP. Since Elvis is so closely associated with the Vegas wedding industry, many chapels say the move could destroy their livelihoods:
“We are a family-run business, and now we’re hanging with the big dogs,” said 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.”
Elvis Weddings business owner Kent Ripley says he’s never run into this issue in the 25 years he’s been performing as Elvis. He says, “They want to protect the Elvis brand. But what are they protecting by taking Elvis away from the public?” So true, Kent.
Authentic Brands Group also owns the likeness rights to Marilyn Monroe. So all the Hollywood Marilyn impersonators better scrub off their moles and start saying they’re actually Mamie Van Doren and/or Jayne Mansfield in a white dress.