For a similarly sized event, we feel laying them out on a table looks rather messy. We organize them in relatively small boxes with alpha tab inserts. We have those boxes on a table behind registration and assign one or two of our staff the task of locating the badge and handing the badge to another staff member that is greeting the attendee. The greeter is occupying the attendee with instructions on the registration flow while waiting to be handed the badge.
If a badge is not found, the attendee is directed to yet another staff member who then registers them on the spot. This results in the need for a printer at the registration table to support that task.