There is a trend, a la the Office, to make wedding ceremony entrances, proposals, and first dances into something production quality. Some of my friends feel that it takes away from the sanctity of the event, the sombre tone with which two people enter a lifetime together. Other folks feel like the energetic originality shows the optimism of a new union. I personally can take it or leave it. (Well, mostly. I did get a little teary at this simple flash mob proposal this morning...)
When it comes to the first dance, tradition has it's place. Soft, simple romantic love songs become the couple's song for life and can be continued reminders of the joy of the wedding day when overheard shopping together for groceries or on a long car drive to the in-laws for the weekend. I myself think this tradition is a great reminder of the romantic side of the wedding day. Fun flourishes of lively entertainment can occur at any point, but ultimately, the first dance is meant to "open the floor" for dancing with the guests of honor starting the festivities. I think this is a great idea because it's the first real moment that the wedded couple can spend together as married partners. It's romantic and heady and sentimental. Having three solid minutes to just hold each other, feel the connection of the day's events, and ignore the crowd whom the couple must now entertain for a few hours is a grounding moment.
However, some couples opt for a more theatrical, orchestrated first dance which is more of a demonstration of the fun foundation of their couplehood. Lively and entertaining, the guests always find surprise and joy in this kind of first dance. It gives the couple a chance to showcase their friendship, the rock upon which every marriage is ultimately based. Goofy, jovial first dances are videography-worthy and liven the party up from the get go. These dances definitely show off the creativity and commitment of the couple. (Also, it's possible that if the couple doesn't go the crazy dance route, the groomsmen might!)
One of my favorite first dances to witness was my cousin and her husband; they picked a song from the musical Wicked. The musical was from a trip they took together to see the show in New York City, so it had historical meaning to their relationship. It's a tough song to dance to--in the modern "slow dance" swaying concept--but the couple used a ballroom dance step that made them look like were gliding in each other's arms. It was romantically meaningful and it was sheer poetry in motion. They looked elegant and in love, which of course they are. The guests were taken on a journey with them; it was a traditional first dance mixed with contemporary music that summed up these two lovebirds in a word: classic.
The first dance isn't the most important moment of anyone's wedding day, but it is a beautiful shared memory. Choosing the song and the tone should be an enjoyable way to reflect on your relationship. Ultimately, it's a great chance (maybe the only chance that day!) to be close to your spouse for a few minutes surrounded by those you love.