Think “Vegas wedding ceremony,” and iconic wedding dress styles don’t necessarily spring to mind. Elvis and Priscilla Presley, however, are a natural association.
On 1 May 1967, just before 10 a.m., Nevada Supreme Court judge David Zenoff married king of rock and roll Elvis Presley, 32, and his girlfriend of many years, 21-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu. It took place in a flower and candle-filled suite at the Aladdin Hotel in front of around 14 people. The bride’s wedding dress was white, encrusted with pearls, and topped with a rhinestone tiara and three-foot tulle veil, and the groom sported a black paisley silk brocade tuxedo, made in secrecy by an MGM tailor named Lambert Marks. Naturally, his signature pompadour was supported with wire.
Inspired in part by Presley’s on-screen marriage in the 1964 film Viva Las Vegas, today there are countless chapels offering “Elvis weddings.” The title song from the film is still the city’s unofficial theme. At Planet Hollywood, which used to be the Aladdin Hotel, an Elvis will officiate and sing up to three songs. It’s safe to say that The King never died in the city of Las Vegas.
Back in 1967, for Elvis and Priscilla, there were no impersonators in sight. Colonel Tom Parker, Presley’s manager, had invited members of the press to a conference that took place in between the intimate ceremony and champagne breakfast for 100 that followed. Though it was relatively discreet for a celebrity wedding of the time, theirs is one that should be remembered, not least for her understated wedding dress—appropriately a style of true simplicity, with a hint of classic ’60s glamour.
Despite reports that Beaulieu designed her own wedding dress, it was in fact purchased off the rack, following something of a secret mission to find it, using the name Mrs Hodge. “I went to places like Neiman Marcus in disguise,” she later said. “I went with a [blonde] wig and everything just to keep it private!”