Shields' daughters Rowan, 12, and Grier, 9, were in attendance early on with two of their best friends and other notable guests included author and security specialist Gavin de Becker, actor Andy Karl, actress Bridget Moynahan (who was in a boot and on crutches) and Today show co-anchor Willie Geist with his wife Christine.
"It was amazing how she has touched so many lives from each stage in her life," an insider from the party told ET. "She has stayed in close touch with so many friends."
Perhaps no one was more amazed than her husband, 51, who couldn't help but break down in tears while talking about his wonderful wife in the most emotional speech of the night.
The adults started the evening with cocktails and ended with swing dancing. Even though everyone brought a gift, Shields didn't open them in front of anyone.
Family and friends dined on tacos, chicken and turkey meatballs, vegetables, hummus and --of course! -- tequila at the Refinery Rooftop all through the night until midnight.
The event carried a sense of nostalgia with it as there were monitors set up that looped through a collection of photos from Shields' life, taking partygoers though her career and stages of motherhood.