LIVE

"Skylar has been in love with mermaids since she was first born," Gretchen Rossi tells PEOPLE of her daughter, sharing photos from the baby girl's glam celebrations

By Jen Juneau and Anya Leon
July 20, 2020 02:10 PM
Advertisement
Gretchen Rossi's daughter birthday
Skylar Smiley's birthday party
| Credit: Melody Melikian

Gretchen Rossi's daughter went under the sea for her first birthday!

Skylar Gray recently celebrated turning 1 alongside her mama, dad Slade Smiley and family including her grandparents, uncle and cousins at an over-the-top fête fit for an ocean princess.

"Skylar has been in love with mermaids since she was first born," Rossi, 42, tells PEOPLE, sharing exclusive photos from the glam yet "small" and "intimate" bash. "She loves watching mermaid shows and always gets giddy whenever she sees anything mermaid (probably because of the glitter and glam), so we knew this would be the perfect theme for her first birthday!"

Aside from the on-theme pastel decorations and goodies, the California party also featured Skylar flipping her fins in her own mermaid getup, as well as an appearance from some very special guests: "real" mermaids!

"Since her birthday is in July, I really wanted to do a pool party for her and have fabulous swimming mermaids from Once Upon an Island on Balboa Island," explains The Real Housewives of Orange County alum.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Gretchen Rossi's daughter birthday
Skylar Smiley's birthday party
| Credit: Melody Melikian
Gretchen Rossi's daughter birthday
Skylar Smiley's birthday party
| Credit: Melody Melikian
Gretchen Rossi's daughter birthday
Skylar Smiley's birthday party
| Credit: Melody Melikian
Gretchen Rossi's daughter birthday
Skylar Smiley's birthday party
| Credit: Melody Melikian

Rossi tells PEOPLE that the soirée — held "at our dear friends Leyla and Manny's beautiful home in Newport Coast" — had a guest list of just 16 people, and that they "took every precaution needed" amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including temperature checks at the door and masks and gloves for vendors.

"Anita, who was our incredible event coordinator from Fancy That! Events, helped create the most magical day," she continues. "Nebella Floral Concepts, Belle Âme Balloons, Laylabelle Designs and Maison De La Fork designed the most stunning backdrop for Skylar's big day. Every detail was done to perfection!"

Guests noshed on "delectable bites" from Ladybugz Catering & Events, while Paris from Maison De La Fork created a dessert spread consisting of "custom and intricate cake pops and cupcakes," mermaid-themed cookies decorated with an "S" for Skylar and the "epic six-tier custom mermaid cake" that served as a party centerpiece.

Gretchen Rossi's daughter birthday
Skylar Smiley's birthday party
| Credit: Melody Melikian
Gretchen Rossi's daughter birthday
Skylar Smiley's birthday party
| Credit: Melody Melikian
Gretchen Rossi's daughter birthday
Skylar Smiley's birthday party
| Credit: Melody Melikian
Gretchen Rossi's daughter birthday
Skylar Smiley's birthday party
| Credit: Melody Melikian

RELATED VIDEO: She's Here! RHOC Alum Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley Welcome Daughter Skylar Gray

Other tasty touches throughout the event included a bar with mermaid-themed cocktails. "Even the drink menu done by Laylabelle Designs had custom cute names for the drinks we were serving, and they also made a custom mermaid tail that said 'Let's Shellebrate' to tie in with the theme," Rossi says.

Adds the mother of one, "Crystal Bartenders were amazing and even created customized drinks with Skylar's picture on  them. It was just so cute and the perfect touch!"

And just in case the impressive dessert spread wasn't enough sweet to go around, "Twisted 4 Sugar had a custom cotton-candy cart, and made mermaid-colored cotton candy with Skylar's name engraved on the front of it, which was so special!" Rossi raves to PEOPLE.

Gretchen Rossi's daughter birthday
Skylar Smiley's birthday party
| Credit: Melody Melikian
Gretchen Rossi's daughter birthday
Skylar Smiley's birthday party
| Credit: Melody Melikian
Gretchen Rossi's daughter birthday
Skylar Smiley's birthday party
| Credit: Melody Melikian
Gretchen Rossi's daughter birthday
Skylar Smiley's birthday party
| Credit: Melody Melikian

The party is only the latest celebration thrown in honor of their baby girl, who was born on July 10, 2019, after Rossi and Smiley, 51, experienced numerous fertility struggles on their way to parenthood together. Skylar joined big brothers Gavin and Grayson, Smiley's two sons from previous relationships.

"We knew that we had to go through [in vitro fertilization] in order to get pregnant," Rossi previously told PEOPLE. "We went through a round of IVF and in that round we had 14 embryos that came out of that. We were so excited and just beyond ecstatic about the results."

After sharing the sex of their baby at an extravagant reveal party in February 2019, the Bravo star and her fiancé were the guests of honor at a lavish baby shower, which was decked to the nines in all things pink, white and gold.

"I have to say thank you to each and every one of you for being here today," Rossi said in an emotional speech during her shower that May. "You guys know how long this journey has been for Slade and I. We have been together now for 10 years. We have been trying for a baby for the last four and half years and, oh my gosh, this is such a blessing from the good Lord above."