What's the deal with Elvis wedding chapels?
November 20, 2010 7:02 PM   Subscribe

Why are there so many Elvis wedding chapels in Las Vegas? Do they have permission from Elvis's estate to operate? Where did the connection between Elvis and weddings come from?

Don't get me wrong: I really like Elvis. But today I was watching Rock a Hula on Youtube and suddenly thought, "What does this have to do with getting married?" Granted, my wife and I honeymooned in Vegas--so for me personally, there is actually an Elvis-wedding connection, but it's tenuous.

My wife and I actually went to a good ol' fashioned Elvis wedding in Las Vegas, officiated by an actual Elvis impersonator. It certainly was an experience, but it had me wondering. I counted, and there are not one or two Elvis chapels--there are 465,000 (I stopped counting after two, and am just guessing). Why are there SO MANY Elvis chapels? Why aren't there Beatles chapels? Have you ever seen a Jefferson Airplane chapel? There's no Cary Grant or Humphrey Bogart chapels I've ever seen.

What year did the Elvis chapel become popular? Was it before or after his death? Did it start with some sort of Elvis chapel business franchise? Is there some sort of way you can make sense out of this?
posted by rybreadmed to Society & Culture (6 answers total)
It's the connection between Elvis and Vegas, not Elvis and weddings.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:17 PM on November 20, 2010 [5 favorites]

This might be helpful on the rights issue.
Please note that we can only give you permission to use the Viva Las Vegas Weddings name, photos and logos. We cannot give you permission to use any Names belonging to third parties. Such as "Elvis" Permission for the use of third party trademarks must be obtained from the owner directly. All trademarks and copyrights are retained by the respective companies.
posted by SMPA at 7:35 PM on November 20, 2010

Elvis played Las Vegas, got married in Las Vegas, and spawned a huge industry of impersonators, all of whom need income. You don't need permission to impersonate a public figure.

Google Timeline
posted by Ideefixe at 7:49 PM on November 20, 2010

I suspect Ideefixe is right - it was an understandable fad that then stuck around long past its logical lifetime because everyone decided it was awesome.
posted by you're a kitty! at 7:55 PM on November 20, 2010

Plus, Elvis is sexy and sort of romantic. Not many people long to get married by Liberace or Wayne Newton or members of the Rat Pack (although I can see the allure of Liberace.) So, if you're in Las Vegas, and you suddenly decide to get hitched--who better than The King?
posted by Ideefixe at 8:43 PM on November 20, 2010

There are links between Elvis and Las Vegas, Elvis and tackiness, and Las Vegas and tackiness. So if you want to have an ironically tacky wedding in Las Vegas, an Elvis wedding is just the thing.

(Obligatory plug from a Las Vegas local: Please do come, have an Elvis wedding, and otherwise spend your delicious, delicious tourist dollars in our local economy. Thank you.)
posted by Jacqueline at 3:42 AM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

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