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Big Elvis Ties the Knot at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall

Last updated: July 16, 2010 at 5:28 pm. Posted by in Las Vegas Casinos, Las Vegas Shows, The Cromwell. Comments Off on Big Elvis Ties the Knot at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall.

One of the giants of Vegas talent, and Elvis Presley tributes, Pete “Big Elvis” Vallee took the leap and married Amanda Lasham at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon on Jul. 15.

Big Elvis is a legend on the Las Vegas Strip, and was recently named one of the world’s “Top 10 Elvis Impersonators” by Time magazine. Of course, this blog breached security (yet again) to get some insider exclusives. And some fancy desserts at the reception, of course.

Big Elvis Las Vegas

Yes, we're jumping ahead. You'll live.

For the wedding, the lounge where Big Elvis has performed for years, even as the hotel’s name and ownership has changed (it was formerly the Barbary Coast), was magically transformed into an elegant chapel setting to rival any on the Strip.

Big Elvis wedding

The lounge at Bill's is transformed.

After a preview of the decor in the lounge, we made our way to the room of the bride, Amanda, in the throes of her wedding preparations, along with her equally-jittery mother, Letty. The excited mother-of-the-bride confided she learned of the wedding plans at the same time the couple told her they were engaged. Surprise, Mom!

Big Elvis wedding

Nothing says, "This is a sweet, private moment" like a blog dude popping off a camera flash every two seconds.

We had no idea what to expect of the bride-to-be, but she was charming and funny throughout the festivities. One of her disarming asides, “I have to tell you, I have a wedgie.” This blog, always about discretion, said, “We won’t blog about that.” And she replied, “Go ahead! People will think it’s funny.”

Big Elvis has himself a live wire, that’s for sure.

Big Elvis’ chosen, Amanda, went on to confide about Pete Vallee’s ardent following, “I’m afraid when they ask about anyone having objections to our being married, five women will stand up and say, ‘No, he’s in love with me!'” We assured her that security would be tight, and any such outbursts would be handled with aplumb by the highly-trained security force at Bill’s.

Amanda

Amanda pretends that she's not about to get married in front of 300 people.

Next, we made our way to Pete (“Big Elvis”) Vallee’s room, where he was busy being coiffed for his big day.

It should be noted that Big Elvis isn’t as “big” as he once was. He once weighed close to 900 pounds, but is now closer to 400, and remains on a path toward a more streamlined version of Elvis (and himself).

Big Elvis

"Thanks for the coiffing. Thank you, thank-you-very-much."

We have no idea if we were actually invited, but we followed Big Elvis and a small entourage of friends, including his son and best man Sonny West, a longtime friend and bodyguard of Elvis Presley, to the green room before the ceremony.

Sonny West and Big Elvis

Sonny West helps Big Elvis with his corsage. You know, in a tough guy corsage context.

The ceremony went off without a hitch (thanks, in no small part, to wedding maven and chapel manager at the Flamingo, Kris LaBuda), and featured touching vows, and music, of course.

When the formal ceremony ended, the bride and groom gave the crowd a treat by sharing their first dance from onstage, as well as the garter and bouquet tosses. Yes, the garter removal got a little sassy, but hey, it’s Vegas!

garter

Garters. What are those all about, anyway?

The capacity crowd at Bill’s, estimated at about 300 well-wishers, included family, guests and media from around the world.

The wedding reception was held at the Steakhouse at Bill’s, and featured a wedding cake inspired by the cake in the wedding of that “other Elvis,” Presley, when he wed Priscilla in 1967 at the Aladdin. Factoid: Big Elvis’ cake was one tier shorter than Elvis Presley’s, presumably for engineering reasons.

Elvis cake

Another epic Vegas couple, at the Aladdin.

The cake for Big Elvis’ wedding was prepared by Executive Chef, Olivier Carlos. The French chef specializes in desserts and pastries, and put on an amazing spread for all the wedding guests. This blog limited itself to two dozen pastries. We have self-control like that.

Elvis cake

French chef Olivier Carlos and his creation. Insider factoid: The cake featured six dozen roses.

The newlyweds plan on visiting San Francisco and Seattle for their honeymoon.

Big Elvis kiss

The Elvis-themed phrase, "Takin' care of business!" comes to mind.

Take a look at all our exclusive pics from the big event, and congratulations to a wonderful couple.

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Oh, and did we mention that Pete Vallee’s show at Bill’s is free? This blog does like itself some free stuff in Vegas.



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