Membrane association with mother centriole (M-centriole) distal appendages is critical for ciliogenesis initiation. How the Rab GTPase Rab11-Rab8 cascade functions in early ciliary membrane assembly is unknown. Here, we show that the membrane shaping proteins EHD1 and EHD3, in association with the Rab11-Rab8 cascade, function in early ciliogenesis. EHD1 and EHD3 localize to preciliary membranes and the ciliary pocket. EHD-dependent membrane tubulation is essential for ciliary vesicle formation from smaller distal appendage vesicles (DAVs). Importantly, this step functions in M-centriole to basal body transformation and recruitment of transition zone proteins and IFT20. SNAP29, a SNARE membrane fusion regulator and EHD1-binding protein, is also required for DAV-mediated ciliary vesicle assembly. Interestingly, only after ciliary vesicle assembly is Rab8 activated for ciliary growth. Our studies uncover molecular mechanisms informing a previously uncharacterized ciliogenesis step, whereby EHD1 and EHD3 reorganize the M-centriole and associated DAVs before coordinated ciliary membrane and axoneme growth.