Innaz Communique established in 2006 is an events company specializing in destination weddings, corporate events and other ventures related to the hospitality industry. Innayat Khubchandani has led the business, working directly with exquisite clientele from all around the world, ensuring their weddings and parties are memorable, creating magical experiences which are perfectly planned and beautifully executed.
Innaz Communique is a known leader and trendsetter in the South East Asia events industry as well as the International wedding world with a passion and drive for designing spectacular events to last an eternity. We got in touch with Innayat Khubchandani, the man behind the brand known as Innaz Communique as well as a celebrated Advisory Board Member for DWP 2019. He spoke at length about his journey as a prominent weddings and events planner along with how the enthusiasm for making his brides’ dreams turn into reality is incredibly infectious.
Who was/is your inspiration for setting foot in the wedding industry?
My inspiration has always been my mother, she would host great parties at home for her guests. It was never about how many flowers she used or how great the house looked, but more importantly the company and being a great host and hospitality. She always focused on the overall experience and ambience, rather than just decorations. She pushed me follow my passion instead of the norm like every other Indian family who push their children to do what they think is best for them. With this I took a step into what I like to call the hospitality industry, which is taking care of people and needs of my clients and their guests and learnt that warmness comes first before anything else.
Who do you think from the new set of planners in recent times will make it big in the industry and why?
There are a few names out there who look like they are doing it right, but social media is not always a true reflection of the real world. There are the young kids who are just jumping into it without much experience or knowledge of the industry. The planners who will succeed are those who have knowledge in each and every department of the industry and the only way they will gain expertise is through experience.
What do you do differently from other Wedding Planners?
Recently I have been told by some very wise friends and partners in the industry to trust my co-workers and captains and let them have a voice. Sometimes, I might not have an answer to everything or might not know it all, but obviously I need to pretend I do and have the right answer to all that is asked of me. So, I listen and I understand what is wanted and needed from my clients and then also hear what is the opinion of my trusted colleagues and co-partners. This encourages teamwork and nothing can be done without teamwork and brilliant coordination, especially in such a diverse industry.
What are some of the latest trends in the wedding business that you follow?
People want fun in their food and beverage and are starting to pay a lot more attention to the presentation as well as the food quality instead of quantity. Our brides and grooms are moving away from the traditional items and playing it up with more of the new-age stylised menus. The important thing is that you have to set the trends yourself instead of being a trend follower, this is what I tell my clients when we meet with them.
How easy or difficult is it to keep up with changing trends in this dynamic industry?
It is not difficult at all, you just have to change your canvas to follow the trend and do what everyone else is doing. However, this does not make you a good planner, it only makes the person you follow, amazing at their work. As much as we love Google or Pinterest, I think it is the worst thing for event planners because it does not get your creative juices flowing.
Simply put; it is easy to keep up with the changing trends but difficult to create new ones and that is what separates the good from the fantastic planners!
What are some of the benefits and challenges of hosting a destination wedding?
Benefits: You get a brand new canvas every time you visit a different destination. We get to work with distinctive artists, caterers, musicians and various vendors who bring such a unique dynamic to the industry. We share stories of success and failure and adapt all the positives to the event where as if your stuck in the same place and same location all the time you get comfortable and that encourages you to take advantage of what you have around you.
Challenges: Trust and quality. You can never be sure of what you will get till you see the end product. More recently, as I grow and get more recognition in the industry, there are vendors that push themselves to be better and to go the extra mile to be able to work with us, but when we first started travelling and planning events in new destinations it was tough to trust anyone, know if they were just trash talking or if would be able to pull off your vision.
Which was the first destination wedding you planned? What were the hardships you faced? How did you overcome them?
I would have to say Sanya, a small resort in China approximately 9 years ago. They had beautiful resorts and such amazing infrastructure, but nobody spoke English there. So, imagine asking for a backdrop that would fold open and have pyro techniques shoot out of the top layer when it folds over with the sounds of bells in the background! The outcome was inevitably unpredictable and that was our biggest worry. How I overcame it? I learnt to speak Chinese in two months (just kidding!). We added a few Chinese speaking staff members to our entourage and the rest of us literally drew out everything for the suppliers and get ensure that all the products were exactly how we envisioned.
How important are vendors when it comes to executing a wedding? Do you work with a specific set of suppliers or do you source local suppliers, if so how do you find them? Through research, recommendations or some other way?
Vendors are your pillars of strength. Fortunately, I have managed to build a reputation in the industry wherein our vendors are my family. I generally have a set of vendors that I work with in Indonesia who have been with me from the start. However, I have never been closed-minded to new vendors who are trying to get into the industry. When I first started off, I was given a chance and I believe everyone should also be given that chance to prove themselves. We tend to get our vendors internationally through research and mostly of course the people we get to meet at the DWP Congress each year, where we make great contacts which we are incredibly thankful for!
What do you think of the Middle East an emerging destination for weddings?
I think the Middle East is teasing us at the moment! They have so much to give and it is such a great destination, where you can play around with an intimate beach ceremony or a city wedding against the glittering skyline, amongst several other luxurious, high budget possibilities.
Having been an integral part of the DWP Congress over the years, how do you feel being associated with DWP 2019 which is going to take place in Dubai this year?
Super excited for the DWP Congress 2019! Dubai is home away from home and we know so many people who are based out of there. It is an emerging destination with so much talent, filled with people who want to reach for the stars every step of the way. Nonetheless, we need to work out a way to make smaller budgets work for a destination like Dubai which is a challenge I am looking forward to.
All Images Courtesy: Innaz Communique