Real Housewives of Potomac star Ashley Darby is expecting a son with husband Michael Darby
Mom-to-be Ashley Darby had two reasons to smile this weekend, as her friends, family and Real Housewives of Potomac costars gathered to celebrate both her upcoming child and her own 31st birthday at a sweet baby shower.
PEOPLE has all the exclusive details about the event, which was held on Saturday — Ashley’s actual birthday — at The Wharf DC’s penthouse restaurant La Vie, with amazing views of the Potomac River.
“It was incredible!” Ashley tells PEOPLE. “I am filled with love. I can not think of a better way to spend my birthday.”
Back in February, PEOPLE also broke the news that Ashley and her husband Michael Darby, 59, are expecting. This is the first child for Ashley and the third for Michael, who has two adult children from a previous marriage. The couple tied the knot in May 2014 after dating for two years.
Seeing as the Bravo stars will soon be parents to a baby boy, it was only fitting that Ashley wore blue to her baby shower. She looked elegant in a mermaid cut gown embellished with a crystal piece atop her baby bump.
Fellow Housewives Gizelle Bryant, Karen Huger, Monique Samuels and Robyn Dixon were also in attendance, alongside RHOP alum Charrisse Jackson-Jordan.
They posed together with Ashley in front of a faux hedge wall by Creative Forte Events, and with the phrase “Ashley’s Baby Shower” on it.
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Teri Galvez from Paradigm Event Management helped design the party.
She called on Village and Coast Interior Design to help with the decor, the company draping 55 parasols in light blue, lime, white, lavender, and periwinkle in the center of the room to add to the baby “shower” theme.
Tierra Floral Design provided all the flowers for the event, including those draped on the hedge wall. Three tall arrangements and two low arrangements were set up for the table centerpieces, with blue hydrangeas sitting atop green bottom pompom and strings of white dendrobium orchids.
For food, guests dined on a brunch menu with mimosas and La Vie’s signature Bellini. A three-tier cake from Cake Theory provided a sweet treat, as did a huge cupcake the company baked for a birthday surprise for Ashley.
DJ Live Drex provided music, while aerialist Shelly Flex (of Dollz Entertainment) performed a 5-minute number to Disclosure’s “You” using a lollipop ring for support. Guests also played games, with prizes including Zen Gem shirts from Ashley’s soon-to-launch wellness brand and dinner gift cards to La Vie.
The most touching moments came when Ashley’s family members took the mic to give speeches of their own.
Ashley’s journey to get pregnant has been a major topic on season 4 of RHOP, which premiered in May. At the season 3 reunion last year, Ashley revealed that she’d suffered a miscarriage.
“It was such a traumatic experience,” she told PEOPLE. “At the time, I didn’t fully understand the magnitude of how it would affect us as a couple and as individuals because we kind of thought it would be a given that we would just be able to have children. But it was challenging.”
Upon learning in November that she was expecting, Ashley said it was an overwhelmingly emotional experience to share with her husband.
“I’m not the most emotional person, but I shed some tears,” she said. “Then Michael started crying. And Michael, who is a very stoic person, when he cries, I start bawling. It was like a share of waterworks between the two of us!”
Since then, Ashley has been taking followers inside all the ups and downs of her pregnancy with candid social media posts and Instagram Live sessions.
There have been some big celebrations along the way, too, including a unique sex reveal that saw Michael skydive out of an airplane to assist in sharing the exciting news.
All has left Ashley feeling grateful. “I give thanks for the incredible gifts bestowed upon me,” she wrote Saturday on Instagram.
“My loving mother, supportive husband, and caring family and friends are always on my gratitude list. This year I add a special appreciation for this little one growing inside of me — our sweet son.”
“When I think back to this time last year, I had just learned I was pregnant, then shortly received the heartbreaking news that baby was gone. A full year later, I am preparing to celebrate our son and welcome him into this world very soon,” Ashley continued. “Life is so challenging sometimes, makes no gosh darn sense, but then it happens and everything comes to light. It all happens for us, not to us ♥️ Love and Light 💜.”