Viva Las Vegas: The story of Elvis weddings

Jane Corscadden August 18, 2020
Viva Las Vegas: The story of Elvis weddings

Sunday marked 43 years since the death of Elvis Presley. His memory lives on through the many Las Vegas weddings conducted by Elvis impersonators. But what is the story behind these ceremonies?

As it’s so easy to get a marriage license in the state of Nevada, many couples flock to the bright light city to tie the knot. With over 80,000 marriage licenses issued each year, Las Vegas is even known as the marriage capital of the US.

In fact, this phenomenon is so popular that the Las Vegas wedding bureau stays open until midnight each night, every day of the year.

If you really want to splurge, novelty weddings are all the rage. From ‘weed-rings’ at the Cannabis Chapel, to a ‘shotgun wedding’ at The Gun Store, and getting married during KISS-themed mini-golf.

However, Elvis weddings are still the King of them all.

So why do so many flock to this Las Vegas to have their wedding officiated by an Elvis Presley impersonator? Here are just some of the reasons.

When did Elvis weddings begin in Vegas?

In 1947, Gretna Green wedding chapel opened for business in Las Vegas. This was the city’s first wedding venue.

Twenty years later the chapel was visited by The King himself, Elvis Presley, for a look around. Later that year, Elvis Presley and Priscilla Bilyeau got married in Vegas – at the Aladdin Hotel.

Following his death in 1977, the owners of Gretna Green chapel changed its name to Graceland Wedding Chapel.

And so, it was born – the first wedding chapel in Vegas dedicated to Elvis.

Photo by Doran Erickson on Unsplash

Why have an Elvis wedding?

“Do you promise to always be her hunka hunka burning love?” ‘Elvis’ asks

“Uh-huh-huh” responds the groom.

In the words of The Elvis Chapel, why have a generic ceremony when you can have fun?

During his life, Elvis was such a huge part of the fabric of Las Vegas, that when many people think of the city he automatically springs to mind.

This makes his impersonators the perfect wedding officiant for many tourists and provides them with an authentic Vegas experience.

What to expect from an Elvis wedding in Vegas

There are many different packages available at different chapels around the city.

Some options include having Elvis sing a song of your choice, Elvis walking the bride down the aisle, and even costumes for the couple to wear.

Many chapels also provide the option for videos to be taken and then uploaded to the chapel’s YouTube account.

The fact that 43 years after his death, Vegas is full of Elvis Presley impersonators you can take a photo with, get your wedding officiated by, or watch perform a show, is a testament to The King’s enduring legacy.

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Jane is a freelance journalist from Belfast, Northern Ireland specialising in news, culture and politics. She studied Politics at Queen’s University Belfast before completing a Journalism MA at the University of Ulster. Always trawling social media and keeping up to date with the latest trends and crazes, her main interest lies in digital culture and internet trends.