Las Vegas chapels of love are shaken up after the licensing company that controls Elvis Presley’s name and image ordered operators to stop using his likeness in themed ceremonies.
Multiple chapels received a cease and desist letter from Authentic Brands group in the early part of last month.
Some fear that the move could cause them to lose their business.
Kayla Collins, who operates LasVegasElvisWeddingChapel.com and the Little Chapel of Hearts with her husband, said: “We are a family-run business, and now we’re hanging with the big dogs. That’s our bread and butter. I don’t get it. We were just hitting our stride again through Covid, then this happens.”
The company’s website says Elvis weddings in Las Vegas became popular almost immediately after Presley’s death on August 16, 1977.
Clark County Clerk Lynn Goya was responsible for a marketing campaign that promoted Las Vegas as an ideal destination for weddings.
The city’s wedding industry generates $2 billion (£1.6 billion) a year, and officials say Elvis-themed weddings were a large number of the ceremonies performed.
She said: “It might destroy a portion of our wedding industry. A number of people might lose their livelihood.”
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The estates and assets of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali are managed by Authentic Brands Group.
In the cease and desist letter, the company stated it would end unauthorized use “Presley’s name, likeness, voice image, and other elements of Elvis Presley’s persona in advertisements, merchandise and otherwise.”
The order should not lead to legal action against Elvis-themed stage shows in Las Vegas such as All Shook Up because impersonating someone for live performances is considered an exception under Nevada’s right of publicity law.
Mark Tratos, a local attorney, said: “An Elvis show is a performer essentially entertaining others by re-creating that person on stage.”
Kent Ripley, the Elvis Weddings owner, said that he had never encountered the problem in his 25-year career as a singer. He said: “They want to protect the Elvis brand. But what are they protecting by taking Elvis away from the public?”