Bethany Nanan was born in Tallahassee, Florida and grew up in Bainbridge, Georgia, where she graduated from Bainbridge High School. She moved to Athens in 2005, and has worked at Epting Events as an Event Planner for 15 years this August. In addition, she owns her own company, Cotton Oak, LLC, coordinating weddings and crafting. In an effort to give back, Bethany has made 100+ masks for her friends in the community during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. She is an ambassador with the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, a member of The Classic City Rotary Club and a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, Food Bank of Athens and Books for Keeps. She and her husband, Aragorn Nanan, live happily in their Westside home with their beautiful GoldenDoodle, Sir Walter Cotton Nanan.
What do you love about your job?
The people. I am such a people person. You definitely could not be an introvert in this job, I don’t think it would work well. I love my coworkers just as much as I love my clients, from the brides to corporate parties to even just small social events. Planning birthdays, rehearsal dinners, baby showers, all of it, is so much fun. It’s challenging, but at the same time very rewarding.
What is your favorite thing to do in Athens?
In all honesty, it sounds cheesy, I do love being with my friends and family, but I think my favorite thing to do here is community service. We have so many wonderful organizations in Athens that help people. So, that is something I have really grown to love about this community.
What is your favorite place to eat and what do you love there?
That is easy, Last Resort, and I love the pecan praline chicken. I should try other things, but I cannot get enough of that chicken!
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
There are so many places I want to see, but honestly I think I would like to go back to Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies, since that is where my husband is from. He loves it, and I love going with him to experience it through his eyes.
What is your favorite movie or series, or what have you loved to watch lately?
I am going to have to say it is Steel Magnolias, because growing up, my mom and I used to go to the Movie Gallery to rent it, and every one of those characters, besides Wheezer, reminds me of my mom. She is absolutely what I would think of as a Steel Magnolia, a southern traditional Christian woman.
If you could see any band, musician or show, anywhere, who would it be and where?
I would probably say Elton John because I have never seen him in person. I have a daydream where Elton and I are friends, and he has a penthouse in Atlanta. I don’t know if he has one, but in my imagination he does. Then we drink gin, dance, sing and play the piano. So definitely Elton John!
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I mentor a girl at Chase Street Elementary, and as I have been doing that for the last few years, I hear her talk with her friends, and there are so many things I try to tell them that I would tell my younger self, too, about keeping positive and not letting things get you upset. Also, know what you want and truly believe that you can achieve it, because you can.
If you could put one message on a billboard, what would you put?
This is an easy one. It’s come from my mom since I was little: It is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice.
What is something interesting about you that most people don’t know?
When I was fourteen years old, I was in the National Youth Choir and we performed at Carnegie Hall in New York. If you hear me sing now, you wouldn’t believe it. Thank goodness I have a plaque and picture on stage!
What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word “home”?
Comfort, Sir Walter Cotton and entertaining.