Getting the right feel and atmosphere for a wedding depends on a multitude of factors - and when it comes to live music, there is a symphony of options from jazz trios and string quartets to a big brass band. Musical experts Benny Man and Maria Wong have some tips on how to make your wedding music sing. One of the first questions to ask is what genre you want, says director Man, at performance group L'amour Strings ( www.lamourstrings.com ). 'Most of the time, couples are not sure what they want. Many think classical music is boring and slow, while jazz is more exciting,' he explains. 'But for classical music we can play very rhythmic concertos and for jazz it can be more romantic than classical.' According to Man, the most popular request is to hire a string quartet - two violins, a viola and a cello. Another option includes a piano, usually available at many of Hong Kong's top hotels, he says. So how much should you budget for live music? 'It's proportional to the number of players and the duration,' Man says. 'It could be HK$2,000 to HK$30,000 depending on what a couple need - a piano for an hour or a five-member band for the whole night.' While many couples want to be in control of every aspect of their wedding, Man recommends trusting the professionals. 'In my experience, it's much better to leave everything to us,' he says. 'I understand that they care about their wedding and they want to decide everything, and most of the time it works. But for music it's easier for us to decide when to phase out a song, or if a string quartet will sound strange playing a Beatles song.' Another of Man's tips is to not judge a company by how much it quotes. 'In this industry, the standard of service is independent of cost. It's subjective and higher charges do not mean a company is better,' he says. 'For photography, a couple can see photos, but for music most people don't know music very well, so they need to compare [a company's] strengths and services, not only prices.' Marketing director Wong, at ME2 Productions ( www.me2-productions.com ), says the venue and programme help determine which musicians to book. If the wedding is indoors, Wong suggests a harp solo, duet or string quartet, while an outdoor setting warrants a string quartet or light jazz trio of piano, saxophone or flute and bass. She says many wedding programmes include speeches, games and videos, so it's advisable to only have an instrumental section. 'The music will be more like part of the background and guests will probably want to have a relaxing break betweens programmes,' she says. In the past two years, however, Wong points out that more couples have been opting for a vocalist in the arrangement. 'They want their guests to enjoy the evening and there has been less emphasis on programmes. The most popular request is a jazz band, which is more upbeat and can spice things up.'