A Catholic co-worker of mine is married to an un-baptized man. He is joining the Church this Easter. They were told that they had to have their marriage blessed before he could be baptized, but they wanted to wait until he was Catholic and do a ceremony that he could fully participate in as a Catholic. Are they able to do that?
Catholics are obligated by canon law to be married in the Church or receive a dispensation to be married elsewhere. Since his wife is a Catholic, she was obligated to do that. If they were married outside of the Church without a dispensation then they would currently be in an invalid marriage. Before someone is received into the Church they must be either single or in a valid marriage. That is why the parish priest is requiring them to validate their marriage.
From the Archdiocese of Indianapolis:
If a catechumen or a candidate for full communion is in an irregular marriage that needs to be convalidated, when should this be done?
The convalidation of an irregular marriage should normally be completed before the sacraments of initiation are celebrated. One cannot enter into the full sacramental life of the Church unless one is completely free to receive the sacraments. It is pastorally advisable to convalidate the marriage as early in the process as possible…