Be an Elvis Minister

By Eric Hammer

Thank you -thank you very much - now just perform that in a mock version of the "King" and you too can become an Elvis Minister. No, we're not kidding. Many, many people come to Las Vegas to get married and many of them tend to gravitate to the cheesy wedding chapels that dot the Las Vegas strip.

Among the most popular of such chapels are the ones presided over by an Elvis impersonator. It doesn't really matter much if your impersonation of the "King" is any good. You simply need to wear the sequined and rhinestone studded costume, wear your hair slicked or have a wig and do an Elvis impersonation. The fact is that half your clients will be drunk and getting married on a lark anyway so it's perfectly reasonable for you to be as corny as you want.

Of course, in order for your weddings to be legal, you need to be an ordained minister. As Joey Tribiani from "Friends" pointed out when he married Monica and Chandler, it is possible to get your ordination online; though it's not truly instant. The Universal Life Church, which is a real church (whose basic tenet of life is "do the right thing" --- they require no other beliefs and you can interpret that any way you see fit) will ordain anyone who asks 100% for free. You simply fill out a form online and your ordination certificate will arrive in the mail a few days later.

Then, once you have registered with the State of Nevada, you can legally perform weddings as an Elvis Minister.

How Much Can You Make?

Most wedding chapels in Las Vegas charge between $300-$500 for a basic wedding package. According to Career Search, the minister typically receives an hourly salary, though no specific data is given. It is reasonable to assume however that the hourly salary would be in the range of $20 per hour. In addition to that, chapels encourage couples to provide a tip to the minister, which is often around $40-$60 or so.

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Once you are working as an Elvis Minister, it's equally possible to work as an Elvis impersonator for other events that don't call for performing marriages. In addition, it is also possible, once you have your ordination to get a job as a minister in another Las Vegas chapel which is not necessarily themed as an Elvis chapel. This way, you could potentially increase your salary while still working when you can as an Elvis Minister.

Keep in mind that people are paying for the experience of being married by an Elvis impersonator and they expect it to be corny. You'll need to sing several Elvis songs and really ham it up for the happy couple.

Qualifications / Requirements

You'll need to become an ordained minister (though if you are not one, you can get your ordination from the Universal Life Church - see below). Beyond that, you need to have some singing ability so that you can belt out the songs of the "King" when you perform weddings.

First Steps

Start by getting ordained. Either speak to your own local church or contact the Universal Life Church for ordination. Then, practice your act. Get yourself ready to be the "King." Finally, go to Las Vegas, register with the county clerk to perform weddings and drop in at various wedding chapels in the city. Ask if they would be interested in hiring you as an Elvis Minister. You could also start your own chapel of course, though you'll need some money to do that.

Resources

Check out these helpful resources to find out more about becoming an Elvis Minister:

Career Search: Elvis Minister - A good basic introduction to becoming an Elvis Minister.

An Elvis Chapel - An example of a chapel where an Elvis Minister presides over weddings.


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