It looks like I was pretty lucky because according to the section on Vital Records for Wisconsin, some marriage applications were issued as early as the 1820s in some counties, then in 1852 the state directed them to record births and deaths, but some towns ignored this request. Not until 1878 did the state get strict regarding adherence to the law. The online Wisconsin vital records index was extremely helpful, because it listed my ancestor, which in turn, prompted me to order it a copy for $15.
Within a few weeks I received the marriage record for 1841. This record was for my recently former "brick wall" person and although I had the marriage date, it is nice to have a uncertified copy.*