Licensing agreements may soon be in place between several Las Vegas wedding chapels and the company in charge of Elvis Presley’s name, image, and likeness. The recent fever over feared court action against the chapels by the large corporation apparently has gone to a simmer, if not disappeared.
A recent Elvis-themed wedding at Graceland Wedding Chapel, pictured above. Elvis ceremonies were at risk in Las Vegas, but now a licensing company is negotiating fees and details with the chapels. (Image: Mikayla Whitmore/Culture Trip)
Many of the 50-plus Las Vegas chapels which offer Elvis-themed destination weddings got cease and desist letters last month from Authentic Brands Group (ABG), a chapel owner told Casino.org. ABG is a licensing company which represents Presley’s estate and the estates of many other celebrities.
The company apparently then backtracked. Their representatives got into negotiations with chapel owners, KTNV, a local TV station reported.
The goal of the meetings is to come up with an agreement to “keep the King a legendary fixture for all Las Vegas wedding chapels,” two such chapels, Vegas Weddings and Viva Las Vegas Weddings, revealed to KTNV.
Favorable Agreement Sought for All
The chapels’ representatives also want to “negotiate an agreement favorable to all parties involved.”
As of last week, ABG had reached out to six wedding chapels to have them licensed in a partnership with the company. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman told the Las Vegas Review-Journal some eight other chapels are on the company’s “list.”
Last week, ABG officials also took part in a conference call with Goodman, the report said. It included Dana Carpenter, executive vice president of entertainment, Natasha Fishman, chief communications officer and executive vice president of marketing, and Michelle Ciciyasvili, public relations director, the Review-Journal said.
Chapel owners and some politicians, such as Goodman, were outraged at the initial crackdown by ABG. The move threatened Las Vegas’ financially lucrative marriage sector, they said. The entire wedding industry produces $2 billion a year.
Earlier, the asking price for an annual fee was as high as $20,000 a year, according to what one wedding chapel owner told Casino.org and other news outlets. But as of last week, several of the chapels told the Review-Journal ABG is asking $500 a year. They had yet to see the price tag and offer in writing.
Chapels Have Peace of Mind
Right now, we all have peace of mind and that’s the most important thing,” Viva Las Vegas Weddings marketing manager Sarah Lester told KVVU, another local TV station.
The mayor also is feeling hopeful now.
“I hope that communication was not (to blame for) this scare that they put into us. But I think their whole purpose now is to work with Las Vegas,” Goodman told the Review-Journal.
During her telephonic meeting with company officials, Goodman asked ABG to open an office in Las Vegas. Company officials made no commitment, but reportedly are considering the idea.
The controversy erupted just weeks before the highly anticipated premiere of a new movie called “Elvis.” It stars Austin Butler and Tom Hanks. The movie may increase interest in Elvis-themed weddings.
Presley was a Las Vegas icon. He co-starred with Ann-Margret in “Viva Las Vegas.” He also performed in an estimated 636 consecutive shows at the International and Las Vegas Hilton, the Review-Journal said.
ABG did not respond to a request for comment from Casino.org.
But recently the company told KVVU it was “sorry that recent communication with a small number of Las Vegas based chapels caused confusion and concern. That was never our intention.
“We are working with the chapels to ensure that the usage of Elvis’ name, image and likeness are in keeping with his legacy. Elvis is embedded into the fabric of Las Vegas, and we embrace and celebrate Elvis fandom. From tribute artists and impersonators to chapels and fan clubs, each and every one of these groups help to keep Elvis relevant for new generations of fans.”
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