Elvis’ Longtime Friend Was so Hurt by the Musician That He Refused to Attend His Wedding Reception

Elvis Presley’s wedding resulted in some hurt feelings among the guests. One of his friends was so stung that he didn’t go to the reception.

Elvis Presley’s wedding was a rushed, stressful affair that left one of his friends so angry with him that they had a falling out. Red West was one of Elvis’ oldest friends, having met the musician in high school. Despite this, he didn’t snag one of the limited invites to the wedding. While Elvis and Priscilla Presley wanted him at the wedding reception, West refused to attend.

Elvis’ friend felt the musician had snubbed him

When Elvis and Priscilla married, they had to move quickly to avoid crowds of journalists and fans. As a result, they could only include a small number of friends and relatives on their wedding day. One of the people who didn’t make the cut was West.

Later, they hosted a much larger reception at Graceland, but West refused to attend. He felt Elvis snubbed him by not giving him an invite.

“It was a way of including everyone, of making up to anyone whose feelings might have been hurt during the rushed hours in Vegas,” Priscilla wrote in her book Elvis and Me. “One person who had been very upset was Red West. He had not been invited to the wedding ceremony in the suite, only to the reception afterward. I believe the reason Red was so hurt was because Elvis did not demand that he be present, did not take a stand over Colonel Parker’s decision that only the immediate family and best man attend.”

Priscilla believed West also wanted to be the best man. The fact that Elvis had picked two best men — Marty Lacker and Joe Esposito — likely stung his longtime friend.

“I also believe Red wanted to be best man,” Priscilla wrote. “After all, he’d known Elvis the longest, since their days at Humes High. When Red found out he could not watch the ceremony, he refused to come at all.”

Elvis Presley regretted the decision to disclude Red West

Elvis’ choice hurt West so deeply that the two friends fell out for a while. He regretted this and blamed Colonel Tom Parker for insisting on having the small ceremony.

“It took a long time for Red to come around again without showing his displeasure,” Priscilla explained. “This bothered Elvis and he discussed it with many of us, justifying himself and blaming Colonel for putting him in the awkward position.”

Parker was happy to take the blame and used it as an opportunity to tell Elvis he should cut down on the size of his entourage.

“‘You didn’t make the decision — I did,’ Colonel reportedly stated. ‘No matter who you picked, there was gonna be someone left mad. You got too many as it is. You oughta listen to me and let go of some of ’em, then these things won’t come up.’”

Elvis’ friend wasn’t the only person who found the wedding disappointing

In many ways, Priscilla agreed with West’s frustration. She wished they could have had more friends and family at the wedding. It was so rushed that she could barely process the day’s events as they happened.

“Elvis and I followed the Colonel’s plans, but as we raced through the day, we both thought that if we had to do it over again, we would have given ourselves more time,” she wrote. “We were particularly upset at the way our friends and relatives ended up being shuffled around. The Colonel even told some of the boys that the room was too small to hold most of them and their wives, and that there wasn’t time to change to a bigger room.”

Upon reflection, Priscilla wished she had taken charge of the event.

“Now I sometimes look back at all the commotion of that week and wonder how things could have gotten so out of hand,” she explained. “I wish I’d had the strength then to say, ‘Wait a minute, this is our wedding, fans or no fans, press or no press. Let us invite whomever we want and have it wherever we want!’”

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