Rewind to April and we’re sitting in the Kensington branch of Trailfinders booking our honeymoon.
“Important question now Poppy: will you be travelling as Miss Dinsey or Mrs Taylor?”
I don’t think she’d finished her question before I barked back “MRS TAYLOR”, probably whilst trying to get the rest of the room to hear as if I’m the first woman in the world to ever get married.
I can be pretty cynical day to day, but there’s absolutely no denying how tremendously excited I am to be marrying someone who I am such a massive fan of. I worried a bit at first that it was ‘anti-feminist’ to be excited about being a wife, but I’m pretty sure it’s ok to be in love. You can want to be a Mrs and want to be paid the same as men who do the same job as you – they’re not mutually exclusive.
Lovely Rachael at Trailfinders did warn me though that travelling under my married name the day after the wedding, no matter how cutesy the appeal is, can be fraught with issues. If I wanted to fly as Poppy Taylor, I’d have to get a passport that said Poppy Taylor.
And that was my mission for today.
To be able to take on this mission I needed some key things: a PD2 form signed by the reverend to say I will indeed be getting married, a filled in passport form and new passport pictures. I felt like I also needed a new designer passport cover, but this is less important. Ahem.
Getting the PD2 form signed at church was easy, but filling in the passport form threw up a few issues: finding a black biro (impossible under pressure), staying within the borders of excruciatingly small boxes (impossible under pressure) and coming up with a new signature (seemingly impossible under pressure….yet I remember it being so easy when marrying myself off to Mark Owen, Nick Carter and Paul Nicholls back in Year 8).
I guess I’d forgotten that my new passport would require a new signature and it took a lot of practice to squiggle ‘Taylor’ instead of ‘Dinsey’ in a vaguely legible way that could be easily replicated and implied ‘adult grown up’ and not ’14 year old applying for their first debit card’. But I got there in the end.
The passport pictures were the real nightmare. I spent £25 in total on passport pictures. ‘LOL’. On two occasions a few weeks ago I tried to use a Photo-Me machine that accepts card and both times my card was charged a fiver and no photos materialised. Then yesterday, having been all made-up from my LFW test, I thought it was a good opportunity to get some pics done as I looked somewhat nice. I took one set and – of course – looked like I had a terminal disease. “Don’t be ridiculous,” I thought. “Nobody looks nice in their passport pictures and you have now spent £15 on pictures. These will do.”
By 7pm I was heading back out, with more make-up on, to take another set.
THIS IS IT. I am going to nail this. I put on more blusher than Aunt Sally (of Worzel Gummidge fame) and struck my pose. The resulting pictures were still awful, but less so.
Then today I went to the passport office to sort it all out.
For some reason I got really worked up about this. Maybe I’ve been scarred by a combination of Israeli border police and watching too much 24, but I was convinced I was going to have to prove why I deserved a passport. Would I need to wear a suit? Answer questions on Anne Boleyn? Explain why I wanted to be married in the first place? Sing the national anthem?
You go through a security process when you get there, with scanners and and x-ray machines and all that. I think it’s to make you feel like you’re at the airport – “Yeah! Passports are for holidays! This queue is worth it because one day you may get to fly somewhere better than this hellhole!”. I took a ticket and waited forever (45 minutes) and realised I was in the minority by not being there through having had a passport stolen. I resisted showing off that I was there because I was going on honeymoon as Mrs Taylor in a few weeks. It wouldn’t have been well received.
I got called to the desk and handed over my forms. I hadn’t screwed any of them up! Marvellous. This was really going well.
“You can’t use these passport pictures.”
I audibly sighed like a collapsed lung.
“Go and take another set and come back, you won’t have to queue again. Keep your lips completely closed this time. Don’t try to look nice. It’s not about looking nice.”
Smizing is not what immigration officers are interested in, I have come to realise.
Of course, I had gone to my appointment WITH LITERALLY NO MAKE-UP ON AT ALL. And now, with bags under my eyes and a grubby Adidas jacket on, I was being marched to take my *fifth set* of passport pictures. I looked awful in them, obviously, but they were compliant with regulations and I learnt an important lesson in vanity.
It was a horrible, boring, time consuming day. I still can’t believe I spent £25 on passport pictures and ended up with ones where I had no make-up on at all.
I went back to the passport office at 8.30pm this evening to collect my shiny new passport. My current passport has been cut and is now invalid, with my new passport coming into life on my wedding day. This means that I can’t leave the country for six weeks, which definitely feels a bit weird. I’m worried I’ll compulsively rob a bank and need to leave and will be stuck here, but hopefully that won’t happen.
Six buses later, holding my passport with my new name, I couldn’t help but smile.
I already had a Nectar card in my new name (bit keen?!), but a legal document – even if not valid yet – makes it all seem very real.
And I don’t care if it’s childish, I’m bloody excited about being a Taylor.
Here’s to being allowed on my honeymoon!
For anyone who is getting married and taking their husband’s name but keeping their maiden name for some professional purposes (I am) you’ll be pleased to know you can keep a record of that on your passport. As much as I am excited to be Poppy Taylor, Poppy Dinsey is a frikkin GREAT name for writing and I will keep using it for work. So PoppyD isn’t becoming PoppyT…just yet!
You can find all my other wedding posts here.