Do we have to pay for our guests' plane flights and/or hotel rooms if we're having a destination wedding?
You are under no obligation to foot the bill for these costs. If guests can't afford to attend your faraway celebration, they will decline. But, before you send out save-the-date cards (which you should do at least six to eight months before a destination wedding), see if you can ease the financial burden for your guests.
Call a few airlines and ask about group rates. Often if you tell an airline that a bunch of folks are flying out for a wedding, it will offer a discounted group rate. Next, call the hotel you're staying at and get the scoop on group discounts there, too. Group rates tend to be based on availability, so book your reservations as early as possible. Also, if you plan your celebration in the off-season, hotel and airfare prices could be significantly lower.
After all that cost-cutting, don't forget to investigate other aspects of the trip that will sweeten the deal for your guests. What are some great activities they can partake in while they're there? Show guests that along with watching you get hitched, they could turn the trip into a great vacation.
One final point to consider: If you can't imagine getting married without certain guests present, you might want to rethink your wedding plan. Rather than inviting 50 guests to join you in Jamaica, consider knocking the list down to about 10 and paying for guests' airfare or hotels to guarantee that key people will attend. By throwing a small reception at your destination, you might free up enough dough to spend on getting friends and family there. If you do decide to pick up the tab for your guests, by all means forgo the fancy extras. Guests and wedding-party members don't need favors and thank-you gifts on top of a free ticket to paradise.