Singing superstar and Emmy-nominated talk show host Kellie Pickler returns to Hallmark Channel on Saturday, June 1, for Wedding at Graceland, the romantic follow-up to her highly rated holiday charmer Christmas at Graceland. Pickler reunites with her costar Wes Brown, and in the new flick, their characters Laurel and Clay are headed down the aisle!
“It’s quite sudden, if you ask Kellie,” Pickler laughs. “But Laurel, she can do what Laurel wants to do.”
After reuniting and falling in love at Graceland during the holiday season, Laurel and Clay get engaged and dream of a wedding at the historic location that means so much to them. When a last-minute opening occurs at Graceland’s popular and exquisite wedding chapel, the couple has a scant three weeks to pull off their fantasy wedding. And when their well-meaning parents embark on a battle of wedding customs — Southern extravagance vs. classic sophistication — Laurel and Clay find themselves caught in the middle and trying to please their families and themselves.
“I love that we get to know a little bit more about Laurel and Clay’s backstories in this film,” Pickler says. “You’ll meet Clay’s parents, and you’ll meet The Major — Laurel’s dad — and Laurel’s stepmom.”
And getting to play a bride who’s surrounded by the stress of planning a wedding reminds Pickler of why her wedding to songwriter Kyle Jacobs on New Year’s Day 2011 was perfect for her.
“Honestly, it made me so appreciative that Kyle and I eloped,” she giggles. “We ran away to an island — very opposite of Laurel. Yeah, I was very thankful that I eloped, that my husband and I decided to do that, because it was just about us, and we didn’t have to worry about pleasing anybody else, and it was right for us. I think everybody has to do what’s right for them in their situation.”
Wedding at Graceland marks the film debut of one of the attraction’s newest features, the picture-perfect wedding venue Chapel in the Woods.
“It is really beautiful. It’s very quaint,” Pickler shares. “It is an intimate chapel in the woods that has so many windows, so natural light floods in. Everything was in bloom in Memphis while we were shooting, so we were surrounded by green, and it was just really beautiful.”
When thinking about love and romance, the music of Elvis Presley is a definitive part of that soundtrack, and several of his songs, including “Love Me Tender,” “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” and “A Little Less Conversation,” are heard in the film.
Pickler also got the opportunity to re-record and perform several Elvis hits, including the romantic classic “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” and says, “That is one of my favorite Elvis songs, and being able to go in the studio and put my little take on it was wonderful.”
And not only does Pickler get to sing like the King, but she also gets a little help on the song from her costar Brown and a surprise guest, country artist Lee Brice. “He’s like a brother, so it was an added bonus,” Pickler says. “It was really neat for all of us to be able to do this together.”
Pickler reveals that she was surprised and thrilled to learn that Priscilla Presley (pictured center in the photo at top) would appear in the film with her, and treasures the time they spent together.
“She’s so lovely and has such a sweet, sweet, kind spirit,” Pickler says. “I love all the work that she’s doing with horses there, all the rescue horses there at the Graceland stables. It’s just wonderful.”
Christmas at Graceland was one of the highest-rated films in the history of Hallmark Channel’s “Countdown to Christmas,” and this might not be the last time that Pickler and her character visit Elvis and Graceland. Although a third film isn’t officially in the works, Pickler laughs at the possibility of the cinematic progression of love, marriage and baby carriage.
“A little baby named Presley?” she wonders. “I’m thinking Laurel goes to Hawaii, because Elvis loved Hawaii. So, that’s where I’d want the next movie!”
Wedding at Graceland, Saturday, June 1, 9/8c, Hallmark Channel